This fence, made
of living bamboo, has been skillfully woven together by Japanese gardeners
in such a way as to appear to have grown into this shape on its own.
It is the first thing one sees in approaching Katsura and serves as an
ideal introduction to some of the design principles that will be observed
throughout the compound. Note how the natural look of the bamboo is retained
while gently nudging it into the shape of a fence. There is a distinct
harmony between the natural and the artificial.
This is unlike what one would find
in most western Estates, where the trees are all forced into artificial
patters. The western gardener often attempted to dominate and control
nature. The Japanese gardener wanted to conform, or at least seem
to conform with nature. Structures such as this bamboo fence, commonly
referred to as Katsura Fencing, display the subtle artistry of the Japanese
designer who did not take a natural form and bend it to his will, but rather,
almost created a form of nature that complimented his aesthetic ideals.
The final result being a flawless blending of the natural with the artificial
that is at times so perfect as to make it difficult to determine where
one might end and the other begin.
Continue in the Tour