/

Zen Landscapes

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

Zen Landscapes, by Allen S. Weiss.
Reaktion, Nonfiction.

Much has been written about Japanese gardens, with authors waxing lyrical about the craftsmanship and miniaturization that are often on display. These gardens, however, are much more than mere abstract designs; they are living landscapes that change according the season. “Zen Landscapes: Perspectives on Japanese Gardens and Ceramics” is the first in-depth Western study that looks at the relationship that exists between gardens and ceramics, suggesting new theories of representation and, above all, presenting ideas that may change the way we view such places. With lush color photos of gardens such as Ryoan-ji in Kyoto, the only real complaint is that the accompanying text is perhaps a too dense for most readers — unless you’ve got plenty of time on your hands.