奪天工 Growing and Knowing in the Gardens of China
Growing and Knowing in the Gardens of China asks: What is a garden, and what can you do with one? Focusing on the gardens of China’s literati during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911), Growing and Knowing illuminates gardens as transformative spaces—spaces for growing and contemplating plants in order to better understand the world around us as well as our place in it. The exhibition in the Studio for Lodging the Mind—a gallery within The Huntington’s Chinese Garden—brings together 30 hanging scrolls, hand scrolls, albums, and books from collections throughout the United States. The show continues outside the gallery’s walls with an experiential performance piece commissioned from Hong Kong–based artist Zheng Bo. Together, these artworks showcase Chinese gardens as sites in which scholars hybridized plants, domesticated wild flora, and observed trees and grasses to make sense of the patterns of the cosmos. Ultimately, Growing and Knowing seeks to spur visitors to embrace their own gardens as spaces that can delight the senses, nourish the body, and inspire the mind.
Artwork credit: The Botanical Magazine, or, Flower-Garden Displayed, vol. 10, pl. 357, 1796. Hand-colored copper engraving. ©The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.
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