Art And Culture

Turner’s History of Gardens Released in Persian

An overall view of Pasargad gardens during the time of King Cyrus, founder of the Achaemenid Empire.An overall view of Pasargad gardens during the time of King Cyrus, founder of the Achaemenid Empire.

‘Garden History: Philosophy and Design 2000 BC-2000 AD,’ a chronological exploration into 150 gardens over four millennia of garden design, is now available in Persian.

The publishing house of Rajaee Teacher Training University, based in Tehran, recently released the illustrated book which was completed in 2005 after 30 years by celebrated English landscape architect Tom Turner, 70, IBNA reported.

Turner traces the development of gardens through history and across social, political and philosophical boundaries. With photos, plans and style diagrams, each chapter critically examines a particular type of garden both as part of a wider socio-political context and as an aesthetic entity, asking how the design of each garden reflects the philosophical approach of its creator. 

In the preface of the book, Turner has thanked “my colleagues Professor Mehrdad Shokoohi (Iranian architect and author) for advice on Chapter 4 (West Asian and Islamic Gardens 500 BC-1700 AD), and Michael Lancaster for help over many years and his advice on the drawings and jacket design in the weeks before he died.”

  Pasargad Gardens

In Chapter 9 eclectic gardens 1800-1900, the ancient gardens of Pasargad in the province of Fars are included. In a report on the excavation conducted by the British Institute of Persian Studies from 1961 to 1963, Scottish archaeologist of ancient Iran and Iraq, David Stronach, 86, stated that “Pasargad Persian Gardens provide the earliest known example of the Persian ‘chahar-bagh’ or fourfold garden design.”

“He [Cyrus] would want to have an avenue down the length of his garden, what is often called by garden architects as ‘the vision of power.’ Since we had…two large rectangles, if we divided it with the ‘vision of power’ we would get a fourfold garden or chahar-bagh. In some ways, this is one of those very important Iranian discoveries in design which the world has taken as a model,” Stronach said in his report.

“Cyrus the Great is also referred to as the ‘Good Gardener’ of Persia, as were his successors,” according to French Iranologist Pierre Briant, 76, in his book ‘A History of the Persian Empire,’ published in 2006 by international academic publisher Eisenbrauns, based in the US, specializing in the ancient Near East and biblical studies. 

“Persepolis, Susa and other Persian palace sites continued the garden development of Cyrus.”

Inspirational, reflective and informative, Garden History brings together knowledge and understanding from a diverse range of related interests to add depth and breadth to a fascinating subject.

Readers of the book can use the website to discover more about the history of garden design and landscape architecture.

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