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Dumbarton Oaks Colloquia on the History of Landscape Architecture
Sacred Gardens and Landscapes
Ritual and Agency
Michel Conan

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.