Mar. 13th, 2017

sharawadgi

Mar. 13th, 2017 07:46 am
prettygoodword: text: words are sexy (Default)
It just so happens I've got a series of S- words lined up, so let's make it a sinuous theme week:


sharawadgi or sharawaggi (shay-ruh-WAY-dji) - n. a style of landscape architecture in which rigid lines and symmetry are avoided to give the scene an organic, naturalistic appearance.


Hang on to your hat or other appropriate clothing item, this gets complicated. So, in English, this is known as a Chinese style, and there is indeed such a style in Chinese aesthetics. However, comma, this is in no way, not even with the most generous allowance for corrupted transmission, any of the possible Chinese terms for this. It first appeared in English in a 1692 essay by Sir William Temple called "Upon the Gardens of Epicurus," who also gave it the Chinese source. Exactly where he got it is unknown, but it seems likely he got it from the Netherlands, via Dutch East Indies traders who apparently picked up the Japanese term sorowaji (揃わじ), meaning irregular/asymmetry (it's both a noun and an adjective) -- and to Brits of the time, "the Chineses" meant everything east Asian. (Note that while Japanese does have shara'aji (洒落味), "refined taste", there's no evidence it existed that long ago.)

---L.

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