2009 – 2010 Season
Feng Shui: Overview and Applications in Lansuyuan
September 12, 2009
“Wind and Water,” for Feng Shui, is an ancient Taoist concept for harnessing harmonious energies in our daily activities and living with the forces of the universe. How might we see or feel it as part of the Garden’s spiritual experience? Marjory Berry takes us on a journey to learn about Feng Shui. She also shares her perspectives of how the energies of both place and people interact.
A Look Back at the Construction of Lansuyuan
October 3, 2009
(to be added later)
Chinese Porcelain – Forms and Designs: Traditional? Modern?
November 7, 2009
Porcelain is always linked back to the Ming Dynasty because the emperor carefully controlled the production. The export of these art forms peaked during this rich and amazing period of Chinese history. Cleary, porcelain was one of China’s greatest technical and cultural contributions to the world. Dr. Michael Riley presents photos of his collection of original Ming porcelain to separate what was considered modern from traditional at that time. To increase our knowledge of porcelain, this program examines some of the imaginative forms and designs employed in the production of this unique material in the last three centuries.
A Strategic Plan: Curation and Stewardship in Lansuyuan
Cynthia Johnson Haruyama
December 5, 2009
The curation of a garden is a special art and requires appropriate attention to the underlying foundation and design of that property. Stewarding Lan Su Chinese Garden takes into account the protection and care of its collection of architecture, stone, water, calligraphy, plants, furniture, art, and artifacts. Equally important is the accurate interpretation of this collection for visitors, so that they may better understand and delight in China’s classical heritage. Lan Su Chinese Garden’s Executive Director, Cynthia Johnson Haruyama, discusses the Garden’s strategic plan for the stewardship of its collection. She shares information about the current re-branding initiative, new visitor materials and programs, and how the collective efforts and participation of our many volunteers advance the curation of this unique jewel in Portland.
Revealing the Scholar in Lan Su Yuan
Dennis Lee & Jan Vreeland
January 9, 2010
While our Garden abounds with a scholar’s revealing choices, the recently installed artifacts and furnishings in the Hall of Permeating Fragrance offer rich insights into the scholar’s life. Dennis Lee and Jan Vreeland put a face on the scholar in Lan Su Yuan and add to our appreciation of the “true meaning of lake and mountain.”
Chinese New Year Brunch: Welcoming the Year of the Tiger 虎 (no video available)
February 6, 2010
Literati Gardens in Ming Paintings
March 6, 2010
Dr. Ann Wetherell explicates one of the inscriptions over the Moon Gate, “Read the Landscape,” or “Read the Painting,” as she discusses the relationship between Chinese paintings and gardens. A Chinese scroll literally takes the view on a stimulating journey. Mountain and water are just two examples of iconic depictions, fully appreciated by the audience. The scroll is a metaphor for a spiritual journey, as is the viewer’s journey through a garden.
The Art of Penjing for the Literati Class
April 3, 2010
Penjing (potted landscape) is well represented in Lan Su Chinese Garden through displays of plant materials and other forms. As a longtime contributor and supporter of the Garden who grows and collects penjing, Mark Vossbrink’s goal for this presentation is to enhance our understanding of the art of penjing from the cultural perspectives and values of the Chinese literati class. How did they select and determine their penjing? How did the poetic and literary heritage of China influence this classical and venerated art form? Mark also explains that penjing and bonsai are not the same, that they reflect distinct aesthetics and cultural norms. Mark demonstrates these subtle differences as he transforms a potted plant with gentle adjustments and a few bold cuts.
Venerable Gardens of Suzhou
May 1, 2010
This presentation will take us to our sister city, Suzhou, to look at several historically renowned and beloved literati gardens. On their many visits to China, Frances Li, one of our original docents, and her late husband Harry Li photographed these venerable gardens as they exist today. She shares this travelogue of images along with interesting historical potpourri of the development of the gardens and how their unique features may have inspired the design for Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Snuff Bottles: A Scholarly Pursuit
June 26, 2010
Connoisseurship was a hallmark of the literati class. In addition to becoming a learned person and passing the vigorous examinations, the enjoyment of sharing a piece of scholarly or historical art with select friends was an integral part of being a literati. Frequently, a scholar’s persona was communicated and largely defined by the quality of literary works and private collections of penjing, paintings, calligraphy, ancient bronzes, and ceramics. Diminutive snuff bottles, which served as a microcosm of the Chinese culture, were often restrained in shapes and decorations and thus appealed to the values of the scholar-official class. Snuff bottles became another prized pursuit for the literati. Dennis Lee presents the artistic and cultural intricacies of snuff bottles as another window into the world of the Ming Dynasty scholar.