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Traditional Chinese Woodworking #8: The Huntington Gardens

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Blog entry by chscholz posted 765 days ago 4186 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Glue-less edge joints Part 8 of Traditional Chinese Woodworking series no next part

Last weekend I had the the distinct pleasure to visit the Huntington Gardens in LA, CA.
Unfortunately the Japanese garden was closed for maintenance.
Wandering through the gardens we stumbled into the brand new Chinese garden. Chinese garden design is a thousands of years old, highly sophisticated art form that I don’t understand as good as nothing about.

I am sure almost everybody knows the shape of the Chinese roofline work.

or Chinese lattice work.

The Huntington Gardens also feature exquisitely carved panels such as this one

But it gets really exciting when you start looking at the joinery up close.
Just as expected, no glue, not nails, no pegs, no shortcuts but honest joinery!

Here’s the bummer: the lattice work is dovetailed!

And look at the joinery of the huge arch! Simply amazing!

We talked to a security guard that was walking around the garden. He told us that all the woodwork was pre-cut in China and then shipped to LA where Chinese woodworker hand-assembled the structures.

The Huntington Gardens also had a Greene and Greene exhibit in one of the exhibit halls. I must say, after seeing the Chinese joinery, what Green and Green produced looks rather crude and unfinished. Cloud-lift rails at the wrong locations, the generous use of Buddhist fu symbols, this all looks like a copy of classical Chinese style elements.

And if you mosey down to LA Chinatown and read the historic markers that the city (?) put up one can not help but wondering where one should draw the line between being inspired by great artist on copying other people’s work.

In any case, a visit to the Chinese Garden a the Huntington Gardens is high recommended for any woodworker interested in exploring finely crafted outdoors structures.

-- Chris Scholz, Arlington, TX, www.Galoot-Tools.com



7 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8473 posts in 2151 days


#1 posted 765 days ago

beautiful gardens. always a pleasure to walk around. thanks for the reminder

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Brit's profile

Brit

4924 posts in 1345 days


#2 posted 765 days ago

Very inspiring. Thanks for posting.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14500 posts in 1691 days


#3 posted 765 days ago

Beautiful, I need to go there one day.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4134 posts in 1454 days


#4 posted 765 days ago

NIce post! I love the Huntington Library, one of the most beautiful places in Southern California. Haven’t been since I moved to Georgia six years ago.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12942 posts in 1196 days


#5 posted 765 days ago

Fantastic post! That joinery is incredible. Especially incredible that it didn’t have to be:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6693 posts in 1654 days


#6 posted 765 days ago

woohoo, another installment of Chinese woodworking. That joinery is amazing. Thanks for posting.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Philip's profile

Philip

1018 posts in 1041 days


#7 posted 765 days ago

Wow, that is unbelievable. I should go there tomorrow…Don’t they have a Sam Maloof exhibit there right now?

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

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