The Environment of the Exhibit
While I was at this exhibit I observed the behaviors that people had in this room as well as symbolic connections between objects and ancient China. I could see that when people entered the room, they became quiet and walked around at their own pace, observing the environment around them. I also noticed the descriptions of pieces in the exhibit that reminded me of Daoist and Confucian beliefs. For example, there were many rocks at the exhibit which seem like ordinary rocks when looking at them for the first time, yet after reading the description that said the rock was symbolic for mountains and their peaks.
The Daoist Experience
As soon as you walk into the Astor Court, you immediately see the connections between Daoism in this 15th century space. The entrance is in the shape of a circle representing our insignificance in comparison to the universe. This relates to the Daoist concept of "the Dao". As you continue walking on the pathway, you see that everything is surrounded by plants and nature showing us the ways that nature influenced daosits. Another prominent Daoist ideal in the exhibit was the quietness of the garden. You can see that this was a place where you can reflect on yourself, experiencing "mirror mind"
As you are walking down the path, you see a straight walkway yet suddenly, there is a rock that interrupts this straightness and there is a curve that goes around it. This may not mean much to most people that walk along this path yet once you look at everything around you believing there. Is an underlying meaning I thought of something. Maybe this curve was representing the unpredictable moments that may take us off the straight path that we had planned and instead, we must go along the path (the Dao) with a mindset that lets us confront each challenge with passivity. This relates to the concept of wu wei because it shows us that we should just go with the flow and go in whatever direction we are lead by nature
Confucian Philosophies at the Met
As you continued to walk through the pathway, you come to a room that was a study. This study was "a scholars retreat". This shows us that education was an important part of the Chinese lifestyle, which is a philosophy that Confucious urged upon his followers. To become an ideal Confucianist, a Junzi, you should be noble and well informed. This room showed that the scholar was both of here things by the way the furniture was laid out and the room as a whole.
Why should future 8th graders should come visit the Astor Garden?
As a student at Horace Mann, life gets very stressful (especially when there is a history project that is due soon) which is exactly why you should come to the Met and check out the Astor Garden! Not only does it fulfill the required activity for the project, but it also gives you a calm and peaceful place where you could let go of all your stress. Another reason why you should come here is because there is a very high chance that you will bump into somebody from your grade, and together, you can find symbolic connections much faster!
Have a calm and peaceful day! :)