China Living Color: The Met By: Haley Watson

For this project I went to The Met, to the section where the Scholars Garden is and to where the Study is to learn about the legacy of Confucianism and Daoism. The Chinese garden was inspired by Brooke Russell who spent part of his childhood living in China. The Garden represents the Ming Dynasty during the seventeenth-century. I thought that this experience was very interesting and taught me a lot about Confucianism and Doaism. There were plaques on the walkway of the garden that explained the symbols of the garden making it very easy to understand the meaning behind everything.

Modern New Yorkers find the Scholors Garden an appealing place to go. It is not the type of setting that you see everyday in New York making it very interesting to visit. It's also very calm and peaceful making it a place people can go to get away from all of the commotion of the city. When people come to visit they are also able to learn about two of the main religions/philosophy's of China. The legacy of Confusionism and Daoism is shown symbolicly throughout the entire garden.

Rocks are one of the most important symbolic elements in the garden. The eroded rocks represent the rigid mountain ranges in China and the streams, which is a reminder of the restorative qualities of water. In a stream there is spalishing water and sturdy rocks which repsresent yin, being dark and soft, and yang being bright and solid. Yin and Yang is one of the main concepts of Daoism. A big part of Daoism is to be one with nature which is shown through the garden.

Within the garden there is only one walkway which represents the Daoist principle of Dao meaning one way. Depending on where you are standing on the walkway your perspective of the garden is different. The walkway isn't straight, it has bends and curves to manipulate the feeling of strolling through mountains. In the middle of the walkway there is an opening that allows people to change their direction while walking. The idea of changing direction is wu wei which means to go with the flow and to not have only one mindset. This shows how the legacy of Doaism is still present today and how people follow Doaism principle such as wu wei everyday without knowing it.

Within the Astor Court there is a study that overlooks the garden that was used for the gardens owners and his guests. The owner or his guest would go into the study to read quitely, study information, engage in conversation, look at paintings, or just to enjoy the garden. This relates to Confucianism because education and studying is important in a Confucius society. Education keeps traditions going and the Study portrays the idea of learning new information.

I think that future eight graders should chose this experience for the Living Color project. It was an interesting way to learn about Confucianism and Daoism. I was able to see the way people in ancient China use to live and shows how much they care about nature and education.


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