The Astor Court and the Scholar's Room By Amanda katiraei

When I first entered the garden, I had to pick which path I was going to travel on. I decided to take the path by the small fish pond, because the pond was very calming and inviting. It exemplifies taoist beliefs, because it is very serene and pacific and would help people meditate and clear their mind. It resembles a river, help to show people to go with the flow of life, and follow the principle of wu-wei. The environment was created to be very relaxing, and was replicated after a courtyard garden in China during the Ming dynasty (from 1367 to 1644.)

This is the fish pond that helped show scholars the principle of wu-wei

This garden shows features of yin and yang. Yin being the dark, wet and cool side of the garden, and yang being the light and hot side of it. As you looked around the paths you see different elements of yin and yang around you. You look at the nature and than at the man-made objects, seeing the differences between the two. Scholars would come to this garden and ponder, looking around at the beauty and tranquility. It allowed people to set their mind at rest, showing Taoists beliefs, making people calm. It helps them connect with nature and animals and helps create a way to reach fulfillment through connecting with the nature and the animals especially when looking at the fish pond. It shows the simplicity of the room having each piece shown separately, not jumbled or crowded, making it hard to focus on one particular object.

This is one of the man-made objects

The main principles of taoism, is connecting to nature, learning that with light comes dark, and going with the flow of life. This garden shows all of these principles, in it's intricate yet simple design. The fish pond was the most prominent of all of the pieces, even though it was placed in the corner. This is because it showed all of the main principles, comparing the nature to the man-made sculptures, connecting to nature and animals from having the fish inside, and showing the flow of life.

This is the hallway leading to the scholar's room

When I finished walking through the garden, I passed through the transitional hallway into the scholar's room. There in the Scholar's room I noticed how different it looked compared to the rest of the garden. It was made of dark colors with benches and chairs that scholar's would have sat on when thinking about their issues and concepts of life. This room would have greatly appealed to Confucius as well, because he wanted people to sit and think about life and knowledge. It is a huge contrast to the garden, going from peaceful tranquility to order and refinement, however, crucial to the importance of the garden.

This is the Scholar's Room were scholars would sit and ponder life

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