Comparative study of water utilization as one of the landscape elements in traditional gardens of Iran, the Far East (China and Japan), and the West (Renaissance and Baroque)
Behzad Mirzaei Yeganeh
Abstract: In different cultures, the way individuals look at nature is influenced by their worldview. The myths and symbols that exist about nature and its elements represent the attitude towards the natural elements in each civilization. The natural elements used in ancient gardens have been influenced in many ways by that culture's perspective on nature. One of the most basic natural elements that have played a key role in forming human civilizations is water, which has its own myths and symbols in each culture. As one of the most basic natural elements in gardening methods, water has been used in a special way in each culture and has played a crucial role in shaping the garden's structure. Here, we examine the perspectives on nature and the element of water in the cultures that created the three types of gardening: "Far Eastern Gardening", "Iranian Gardening," and " the Western Baroque and Renaissance Gardens." In the Far East civilizations, water is considered a sacred element and, like other elements of nature, is worthy of respect and coexist with mountains and rocks. The symbolic representation of this coexistence is manifested in landscape paintings in the form of waterfalls. This respect for nature, along with myths such as dragons and sacred rivers, is consistent with the effects of water displays in the gardens of this culture. The value and sanctity of water are seen both in ancient Iran's myths (such as Anahita and Tishter) and in post-Islamic religious allegories in this land. These values also influence patterns of water use in the Persian gardens. After the Renaissance, the humanistic and rational view was also influential in the attitude towards the elements of nature and water in western countries. The theatrical manifestations of water and the showing of human domination over natural elements, including water in the Renaissance and Baroque gardens, are among its characteristics. In each of the three mentioned gardening methods, the effect of using the crucial element of water in gardens can be understood from the type of attitude of that culture.
The way water is used in traditional gardens is not only affected by climatic and environmental characteristics in each of the studied civilizations. It is also influenced by the type of view of nature, myths, and related symbols, as well as cultural patterns. In the conclusion of this research, a summary of studies on looking at the natural elements of the landscape, water, and its application in three types of gardening is presented in a table.
Keywords: Water in Gardens, Far East Gardens, Iranian Gardens, Renaissance Gardens, Baroque Gardens