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Garden Workshop

International Workshop

Infinite Worlds
The Cultural Biography of
Chinese Classical Gardens

Friday, April 9 – Saturday, April 10, 2010
Rooms 142-144, UO White Stag Block Buildings
70 NW Couch Street, Portland

Scholars’ gardens are works of art. Their modern derivatives require knowledge of the semantics of the historical literary symbolism as well as the structure of their design. The elements of a Chinese garden – the physical components as well as the ephemeral impressions – are not arbitrary and cannot be separated from cultural politics. This workshop will provide new considerations that will enhance understanding of the experience of ‘reading’ Chinese gardens.

Workshop Program

Friday, April 9

1:00 – 1:15 pm
Opening Remarks and Introduction (Wendy Larson, Vice Provost for UO Portland Programs; Bryna Goodman, Director of the UO Confucius Institute; Cynthia Haruyama, Director of Lan Su Chinese Garden; Ina Asim, UO Department of History)

1:15 – 2:45 pm – History: Gardens as Refuge

“Emperor Huizong’s (r. 1100-1126) Short lived Earthly Paradise”
Dieter Kuhn, Department of History, Princeton University

“Problematizing the ‘Private’ in Ming Gardens”
Ken Hammond, Department of History, New Mexico State University

3:00 – 4:30 pm – The Semantics of an Elitist Universe

“The Large Within the Small: Imperial Garden and Imperialist Metaphor”
Kevin Greenwood, Department of Art History, Willamette University

“From Poetry to Music to Garden: A Diverging Path from Reality to Surreality”
Juwen Zhang, Department of Japanese and Chinese, Willamette University

5:00 – 6:00 pm – Visit to Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden (on own)

6:00 – 6:30 pm – Reception, Light Court Commons, UO White Stag Building

6:30 pm – Keynote Address

“Chinese Gardens: New Views and New Directions”
Alison Hardie, School of Modern Languages, University of Leeds

Saturday, April 10

9:30 am – 12:30 pm – The Social Life of Transnational Space

“Cultivating Memory: the Relevance of Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance at The Huntington”
June Li, Curator of the Garden of the Flowing Fragrance, Liu Fang Yuan at the Huntington Library

“The Making of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Garden and Expansion Project: The Development and Its Social Impact”
Joe Y. Wai, Architect of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden, Vancouver, BC; Advising architect to the Seattle Chinese Garden

“Chinese Gardens for the 21st Century: Ideals of Traditional Garden Design Overseas and in China”
Ina Asim, Department of History, University of Oregon

“Translating Classical Chinese Gardens for a 21st Century American Audience”
Cynthia Haruyama, Director of Lan Su Chinese Garden

This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Pre-registration is required. To register, please click here.

For more info, please call (541) 346-1521.

This event is presented by the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies and cosponsored by the Portland Lan Su Chinese Garden, the UO Confucius Institute, the UO Portland Programs, the Jeremiah Lecture Series Fund, the Oregon Humanities Center, the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, the UO Departments of History, East Asian Language and Literatures, Arts and Administration, and Folklore, as well as support from David Easly.

*Photo by Kay Bork

Participant Bios

Ina Asim is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Oregon. She specializes in pre-modern Chinese history with an emphasis on archaeology and material culture. While working on a city portrait of the Ming dynasty capital of China, Nanjing, (Coiling Dragon, Crouching Tiger: Urban Life in Late Ming Nanjing; forthcoming) she produced a bilingual educational CD in cooperation with Garron Hale at the Social Science Instructional Laboratory: Colorful Lanterns at Shangyuan (2005) and became infatuated with Chinese Gardens, the result of which is the current workshop, a chapter in her book on Nanjing, and a website she is currently creating in collaboration with Garron Hale.

Kevin is a specialist in Chinese Buddhist art, and this Fall will defend his doctoral dissertation in Chinese art history at the University of Kansas. His dissertation, entitled /Yonghegong: Art, Politics and Religion in Beijing’s “Lama Temple,” is the first comprehensive overview in English of the architecture and sculpture of the largest Buddhist temple complex in Beijing. Kevin is currently teaching Asian art history at Willamette University in Salem, where a recent course entitled “Chinese Microcosms” focused on the role of traditional cosmology in Chinese religious, imperial and garden architecture.

Ken Hammond is a Professor of History at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where he teaches Global History, East Asian history and the history of China. He is the director of the Confucius Institute at New Mexico State and the editor of the Journal Ming Studies. His research interests are Early Modern and Modern Chinese political culture and history. His many publications include an in-depth biography of the Confucian martyr Yang Jisheng titled Pepper Mountain: The Life, Death and Posthumous Career of Yang Jisheng, 1516-1555. London, Kegan Paul, 2007 and an essay that shows his connectedness with Ming scholars’ ideas about gardens and their conceptualization of the garden culture they shaped, titled “Urban Gardens in Ming Jiangnan: Insights from the Essays of Wang Shizhen.” In Michel Conan and Chen Wangheng, eds., Gardens, City Life and Culture. Harvard University Press, 2008. You can watch or listen to a series of thirty six lectures on Chinese history (in audio or DVD format) from The Teaching Company, titled From Yao to Mao: 5,000 Years of Chinese History. (2004).

After degrees in Classics at Oxford and Chinese at Edinburgh, Alison Hardie went to China for a year of postgraduate study and then started working with the Hong Kong trading firm Jardine Matheson in their Beijing Office. She continued to work for Jardines and other international companies for a total of 16 years in both China and Hong Kong, mostly on either engineering-related or catering projects. She then returned to the U.K. to take a Master’s at Oxford and a doctorate at Sussex, doing research on the history of Chinese garden design. With this extensive experience in the world of business and academia she began to teach at Newcastle University for six years before moving in 2006 to the University of Leeds, where she is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies. Her translation of Ji Cheng’s (1582 – c. 1642) The Craft of Gardens opened the door to concepts of Ming Garden design for readers around the world. She currently explores the life and thought of the 17th-century playwright, poet and politician Ruan Dacheng and continues her analyses of questions that guided Chinese literati in conceptualizing their personal utopian spaces. Her publications include “Think globally, build locally: syncretism and symbolism in the Garden of Sitting in Reclusion.” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, vol. 26, no. 4, Oct-Dec 2006; “’Massive structure’ or ‘spacious naturalness’? Aesthetic choices in gardens of the Wang families in Taicang.” Ming Studies 2006; “The Awareness Garden of Wang Shiheng in Yizhen.” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 2004, 24 (4), 272-279; “Washing the Wutong Tree: Garden Culture as an Expression of Women’s Gentility in the Late Ming”. In: Daria Berg & Chloe Starr, eds., The Quest for Gentility in China: Negotiations beyond gender and class. London: Routledge, 2007; “Conflicting discourse and the discourse of conflict: eremitism and the pastoral in the poetry of Ruan Dacheng (c.1587-1646). In: Daria Berg, ed., Reading China: Fiction, History and the Dynamics of Discourse – Essays in Honour of Professor Glen Dudbridge. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2006.; “Ji Cheng’s Yuan Ye (The Craft of Gardens) in its social setting.” In: The Authentic Garden: a Symposium on Gardens 1990, Leiden: The Clusius Foundation, among others.

Cynthia Haruyama is the Executive Director of Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon. She joined Lan Su in 2008, transitioning from her previous position as the Executive Director of Hoyt Arboretum Friends. Her prior work experience includes leadership for the non-profit Hoyt Arboretum Friends Foundation (Executive Director, 2001 – 2008) and the garden equipment manufacturer A.M. Andrews Co. (General Manager, 1994 – 2000). She has also practiced law, specializing in corporate law and business transactions with the Portland office of Davis Wright Tremaine and Farleigh Wada & Witt. Ms. Haruyama’s educational background includes a law degree from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. She is a native of Portland, Oregon but has also lived in Japan, New Jersey and New York. She has previously served as chair of the Washington Park Alliance, a member of Metro’s Blue Ribbon Trails Committee and on the Master Planning Committee for Leach Botanic Garden. She is an active member of the Cultural Attractions of Portland Area.

Dieter Kuhn is Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Würzburg in Germany. Currently he is visiting faculty at Princeton University where he is involved with the New Directions in the Study of Early Modern Asia, a PIIRS-Program in East Asian Studies and the East Asian Studies department. His research focuses on the history of material culture, technology, and archaeology in medieval China, especially of the Song period (960-1279). Kuhn’s most recent publications are Perceptions of Antiquity in Chinese Civilization (2008) and The Age of Confucian Rule: The Song Transformation of China (2009), which relates the history of emperor Huizong’s infatuation with the design of his Genyue pleasure park. Dieter Kuhn’s contribution on Chinese textile technology to Joseph Needham’s (ed.) Science and Civilisation in China, Cambridge 1988, is the authoritative source on Chinese textile technology.

June Li is Curator of the Huntington Library’s Chinese Garden, Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Fragrances. Originally from Hong Kong, June Li is a historian of Chinese art and was the a curator of Asian Chinese and Korean art for 18 years at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Since she joined the Huntington Library in 2004, she has undertaken several herculean tasks. She accompanied the first phase of construction of Liu Fang Yuan from the beginning to the opening of the finished site in early 2008. She organizes an ongoing academic lecture series on topics related to Chinese gardens, conferences concerning garden culture, and has published two books: She edited Another World Lies Beyond: Creating Liu Fang Yuan, the Huntington Chinese Garden, which tells the story of constructing Liu Fang Yuan in Southern California and explains the cultural traditions and aesthetics of its design. The catalogue Treasures Through Six Generations: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy from the Weng Collection introduces fiftyone works of calligraphy and painting by such celebrated artists as Shen Zhou, Wen Zhengming, Dong Qichang, Wang Jian, Wang Hui, Wang Yuanqi from the Wan-go H. C. Weng Collection. They were shown in the spring of 2009 in an exquisitely elegant exhibition curated by June Li at the Huntington Library. Currently she is working with the Huntington team on the plan for building the second construction phase of Liu Fang Yuan that will encompass the western area of the garden highlighting a large penjing collection, pavilions and grotto; as well as a northern area of the garden featuring a lake-side performance hall pavilion for music, dance, opera, and readings, a large courtyard, and a climate-controlled secure space hall for art exhibitions, covered corridors, a winding stream with poetry pavilion, as well as a topiary pavilion. June hopes that this will complete the 12 acre site reserved for Liu Fang Yuan, until it grows again in the future.

Born in Hong Kong, Joe Wai immigrated to Canada at a young age. He was educated in Vancouver, B.C. and looks back at an architectural career spanning 40 years. He has worked with firms such as Arthur Erickson Architects; Thompson, Berwick and Pratt in Vancouver; Denys Lasdun and Partners; and the Greater London Council in London, England. In 1978, he established Joe Wai Architects, which continues to be focused on Community/Cultural projects and Social/Seniors housing. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors and as a sessional instructor in the School of Architecture at the University of British Columbia. Presently, he continues to work with graduates in the Architects-in-Training Programme of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia. Joe Wai served on the AIBC Council from 1985 – 1987. He has served with many community groups and has been appointed to various civic design panels and committees in the past 40 years. Joe Wai was the lead consultant in the design of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden in Vancouver, and currently advises the Seattle Chinese Garden Society and the Foundation of the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Project.

Juwen Zhang is the Luce Asian Studies Professor of Chinese Language and Culture at Willamette University. His research interests include Chinese ritual studies, folklore performance, ethnic identity, as well as material and popular culture. Currently he works on the Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies and Filmic Folklore. He translated the ancient Chinese text The Book of Burial (Zang Shu) by Guo Pu (276-324), which explains some of the elements of planning and layout that much later contributed to shaping the design of scholarly gardens.