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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » May 14, 2008
Toruń
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Gardens of Japan
May 14, 2008   
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Toruń is hosting an exhibition of color photographs by Urszula Imamura, a promoter of Japanese culture and art in Poland. The works depict some of the most interesting Japanese gardens. Masterly use of photographic technique helps capture the special atmosphere of such spaces.

Creating a Japanese garden is an art drawing on religious, philosophic and esthetic influences. Traditional Japanese gardens were designed both by monks and samurai. The gardens combine apparent contradictions: they are simple and complex, sensual and spiritual, temporal and eternal at the same time. They inspire respect for nature and create an atmosphere of calm and peace. In the Japanese tradition, the garden is a frequent object of contemplation.

The traditional garden includes space for walks. Some gardens have tea pavilions. Another important element is a pond, often with Japanese koi carp.

Imamura's photographs depict stone gardens including the Ryoanji garden in Kyoto, established in 1450. Regularly raked gravel symbolizes the ocean, with 15 boulders symbolizing the Japanese islands. They have been arranged so that you cannot see all of them at the same time from any place at the observation verandah.

The exhibition also has pictures of such unusual places as Kyoto's Moss Garden dating back to the Heian era (784-1185) and the Winter Peony Garden in Fukuoka.

M.H.

Toruń, Okręgowe Museum, Kamienica pod Gwiazd± building, 1 Old Town Sq.; open until June 15.
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