Aesthetic and cultural cspects of cartography of Chinese and European candscapes

Fivos Papadimitriou


European semi-natural, cultural and artificial landscapes are significantly different than those of China and so are the cartographies of these landscapes. Feng-Shui for instance (an ancient Chinese method for assessing and mapping strong-favourable and weak-unfavourable aspects of landscapes and places) is still thought to be practiced by a large share of the Chinese, today. However strange the Asian methods may seem to the European mind, they constitute an essential part of traditional Chinese architecture, garden arrangement, and moreover landscape design. The relationship between humans and landscapes is very complex and the relevance of attitudes formulated by the Chinese in the past to the attitudes of today may have far-reaching consequences for the man-landscape relationships today. Equally interesting is the south-east Asian and Chinese cartography of parks and forests from the cultural point of view, particularly in relation to its relevance with the ancient Asian cosmologies. The comparative examination of European and Chinese cartographies may lead to a considerable re-evaluation of the perception of the role of humans in the landscape.

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