Thursday, May 26, 2011

"The Garden of Flowing Fragrance"

That's the name of the traditional Chinese formal garden at the Huntington in San Marino, California. For those of you who don't know, the Huntington is a former private estate converted into a series of gardens, art galleries, and collections of prints and manuscripts open to the public. I've been going to the Huntington since I was a child, when I remember being particularly fascinated by their collection of illuminated manuscripts (including a copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales), early printed works (the most famous being a copy of the Gutenburg Bible). and maps and globes from the age of exploration. This time, what stood out most was a new (to me) exhibit on the history of science --which included such gems as Isaac Newton's own copy of the Principia and Edwin Hubble's copy of Copernicus--and the aforementioned Chinese gardens. I had never before seen a traditional Chinese formal garden, and would have liked to have learned more about the nature of its design, construction, and maintenance, but I was able to take a few pictures of its plants and pavilions while I was there (one of which is shown above).
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