Studies of rituals in sacred gardens and landscapes offer tantalizing insights into the significance of gardens and landscapes in the societies of India, ancient Greece, Pre-Columbian Mexico, medieval Japan, post-Renaissance Europe, and America. Sacred gardens and landscapes engaged their visitors into three specific modes of agency: as anterooms spurring encounters with the netherworld; as journeys through mystical lands; and as a means of establishing a sense of locality, metaphorically rooting the dweller's own identity in a well-defined part of the material world. Each section of this book is devoted to one of these forms of agency. Together, the essays reveal a profound cultural significance of gardens previously overlooked by studies of garden styles.
Michel Conan is Director of Garden and Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks