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Japanese Garden for
Reflection and Contemplation
Botannical Print
"The aesthetic of the Japanese garden is devoted to harmony. Rather than the overt ordering of nature into formal structures of pattern and proportion that show the ingenuity of man's conceptions in visual form, the Japanese garden seeks to merge man and nature harmoniously, to integrate abstract principle and the natural environment."

Marylin Martin Rhie, Professor of Art and of East Asian Studies, Smith College

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The Japanese Garden for Reflection and Contemplation at Smith College is not a traditional Japanese Garden. It incoporates elements of traditional Japanese design adapted to the context of a New England setting. Built into a wooded slope below the President's House overlooking Paradise Pond, the garden incorporates locally collected rocks that are arranged around the tea hut to symbolize seven events in the life of Buddha.

More information on the stones

The garden was proposed in November 1984 by Jill Ker Conway, then president of Smith College. She officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony held on May 4, 1985. The garden was designed by David Slawson, who apprenticed with Nakane Kinsaku, the famous Kyoto landscape artist. The plantings were renewed in spring 1998 in connection with a student Special Studies in Landscape project by Nicole Davignon '99.

On October 2, 1998, a Buddhist dedication service for two stone lanterns and a stone statue of Jizo, created by sculptor Tom Matsuda, was officiated by Issho Fujita, Abbot of Valley Sendo. Taitetsu Unno, now retired Jill Ker Conway Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies, said that Jizo is the protector of children and of travelers who have lost their way.

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Smith College
Last updated on Monday, October 08, 2007.