Jackson Park: The Garden of the Phoenix

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The Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park
Formerly known as Osaka Garden [1993-2013].

Location: The Garden of the Phoenix is located in Jackson Park,
and immediately south of the Museum of Science and Industry.
and east of the University of Chicago campus.

In 1974, Jackson Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

The Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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The Garden of The Phoenix

The marker at the entrance of the garden highlights the historic importance of this garden.
It reads..
The Garden of the Phoenix symbolizes the mutual respect and friendship that Japan and United States initiated more than 120 years ago. In 1893, here on Jackson Park’s Wooded Island, the Japanese Government built the Ho-o-den [Phoenix Temple] as its pavilion for World’s Columbian Exposition. The Ho-o-den introduced Japan’s artistic heritage to Americans and remained as a gift to Chicago after the Fair. The original pavilion had only a small garden. However in the mid-1930s, the newly formed Chicago Park District restored the pavilion and added a more extensive Japanese Garden. Funded by the Works Progress Administration, the project incorporated Japanese elements including a small tea house from Chicago’s 1933-34 World’s Fair, A Century of Progress, in Burnham Park. After this site was repeatedly vandalized during the World War II, fire destroyed the Phoenix Temple in 1946, less than a year after the war ended in the Pacific. Although Japan and America entered into a peace treaty in 1952, the garden deteriorated and received only minor improvements until the early 1980s, when the Chicago Park District received federal grant for its restoration. Since then, the Garden of Phoenix has been revitalized several times, including a 1992 project that celebrated Chicago’s Sister City relationship with Osaka, Japan. Today Chicago Park District works with non-profit organization Project 120 Chicago and The Garden of the Phoenix Foundation to enhance, maintain, interpret and promote the legacy of this historic garden and Jackson Park.

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The Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

The Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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The Garden of Phoenix Japanese Garden
Previously known as Osaka Garden

Main Features of the Garden

A Japanese Garden is a symbolic representation of natural scenery at small scale. Mountains, lakes and islands are all represented here. The major elements in the garden are both natural and man-made. Natural elements are rocks, water, hills, plants and man-made objects include cut-stone lanterns and basins, bridges and a pavilion. These elements are asymmetrically composed and balanced to achieve harmony. In this Finished Hill Style Stroll Garden the meandering path guides the viewer to main vistas at changes in the path’s direction, and at fixed viewing stones. The garden is intended to provide tranquility for meditation.

Three styles of traditional granite lanterns were imported and displayed. Kasuga [upright], Rankei [overhanging] and Yukimi [four-legged snow lanterns]. In addition, a water basin in the form of an opening flower is provided near the pavilion. The Kasuga lantern near the entrance is from the original garden located at this site.

The moon bridge is a traditional design and is best viewed when reflected upon itself in the water.

The garden pavilion with an Irimoya style roof and raised platform are be used for demonstrations of Japanese culture and martial arts.

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Sky Landing - by Yoko Ono / Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Sky Landing – a sculpture-&-landscape installation – by Yoko Ono / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Sky Landing – by Yoko Ono.

Just outside the main entrance to the Garden of Phoenix is recently installed “Sky Landing” by Yoko Ono. “Sky Landing” is a sculpture-&-landscaping installation which consists of a 12 steel lotus petals, each about 12-foot-tall rising up from the ground as a gesture of peace, hope and renewal. The sculpture is surrounded by mounds that form the yin yang symbol representing opposing but complementary forces found in all things in the universe.

For more, Sky Landing – Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony..  click here..
Sky Landing – by Yoko Ono.. click here..

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The Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Entrance to the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Zigzag Stepping Stones / Garden of Phoenix

Zigzag Stepping Stones / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Zigzag Stepping Stones
Legend has it that they are laid in a zigzag because evil spirits can only move in a straight line.
So if you cross the stones, any evil spirits will just fall into the water.

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Moon Bridge /  Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Moon Bridge – Reflection is an important part of planning / Also notice the Gingko tree to the right and pine tree to the left / Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

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Moon Bridge
A symbolic link between this world and paradise.
The high arch shows how difficult passage to the other world is.

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The Pavilion /  Garden of Phoenix,  Jackson Park, Chicago.

The Pavilion / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Water basin / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Waterfall and Water basin – just south of the pavilion / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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The Kasuga Lantern / Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

The Kasuga Lantern / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Stone Lanterns at the Garden of Phoenix

As mentioned earlier, three styles of traditional granite lanterns were imported and displayed: Kasuga [upright], Rankei [overhanging] and Yukimi [four-legged snow lanterns].

Kasuga  Lantern: is one of the lamps that survived from 1893. It takes its name from the Kasuga Shrine in Nara, Japan. The deer panel is one of the four traditional symbols, the others were a stag, the sun, and the moon, most of which are damaged.

Yukimi  Lantern:  or “snow viewing” lantern (yukimi doro)”, appeared first in the early Edo period. The lantern has no shaft and instead rests on three or four legs that arch outward from the base. It usually sits relatively low to the ground, and combined with the multiple legs, it lends a sense of stability to a landscape. This style of lantern is so named because it shows its best under a mantle of snow. Although “Yukimi” is the Japanese custom of “snow-viewing”, the original Japanese character may have meant ”floating light”. For more.. click here..

Rankei  Lantern: is unique with its arched support column creating a cantilever for the light house. Traditionally, the lantern is installed so that it extends over a pond or lake creating a reflection in the water.

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The Yukimi Lantern / Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

The Yukimi Lantern / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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The Yukimi Lantern / Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

The Yukimi Lantern / In the background is the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, which is now the Museum of Science and Industry / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Rankei Lantern / Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Rankei Lantern / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Kasuga Lantern / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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The Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

The Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Main Entrance - Notice a stone with plaque on right of entrance which highlights the Osaka-Chicago Sister City relationship. plaque that  Garden of Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

Main Entrance – Notice a stone with plaque on right of entrance which highlights the Osaka-Chicago Sister City relationship / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Plaque at the entrance reads..
The original Japanese Garden and Ho-O Den Palace were built on this site for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. After the Exposition the garden was expanded, a tea-house added, many other improvements made and the garden well-maintained and cared for. Shortly after the break of World War II, however the buildings were destroyed by fiire and the garden was virtually abandoned. In 1981, a new garden with a pavilion, waterfall and an arched moon bridge was built.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Chicago and Osaka [Japan] Sister City Relationship, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago renamed the Japanese Garden in 1993 as the “Osaka Garden”.

Mayor Nishio of Osaka City was impressed with the act and responded by donating improvements to the garden in 1994. This included a formal wood garden entry gate and fence and other essential landscape restoration to the Garden.

The present improvements were made possible through the cooperation of the city of Osaka through the Flower and Greenery Promotion Headquarters and the city of Chicago through the Chicago park District Landscaping Design Division.

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A stone with plaque on right of entrance which highlights the Osaka-Chicago Sister City relationship / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

A stone with plaque on right of entrance which highlights the Osaka-Chicago Sister City relationship / Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Spring Time at Osaka Garden, 2010 / Now Garden of the Phoenix.

The images above were taken in the Fall Season on November 7, 2016.
Earlier I had been to the garden in April 12, 2010.
Then, the garden had it’s former name Osaka Garden.
The name was changed to the Garden of the Phoenix in 2013.
Here are some images from the Spring Season.

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Osaka Garden,  Jackson Park

Spring 2010 at Osaka Garden / Now the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Osaka Garden,  Jackson Park

Zigzag Stepping Stones / Spring 2010 at Osaka Garden / Now the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Osaka Garden,  Jackson Park

Water basin / Spring 2010 at Osaka Garden / Now the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Osaka Garden,  Jackson Park

Moon Bridge / Spring 2010 at Osaka Garden / Now the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Osaka Garden,  Jackson Park

Spring 2010 at Osaka Garden / Now the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Cherry Blossom / Osaka Garden,  Jackson Park

Cherry Blossom / Spring 2010 at Osaka Garden / Now the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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Osaka Garden,  Jackson Park

Azalea / Spring 2010 at Osaka Garden / Now the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago.

 

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History of the Garden

The Garden of the Phoenix traces its origins back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and Japan’s participation in it. Guided by Daniel Burnham, chief of construction, and Frederick Law Olmsted, chief of landscape, the Japanese government was permitted to build the Ho-o-den (Phoenix Pavilion) at the north end of the 15-acre Wooded Island located at the center of the Exposition.

The 1893 Phoenix Pavilion – known as Ho-o-den – consisted of three structures joined by covered walkway to form the shape of the phoenix bird. The beams and joinery were part of the beauty and ornament. Inside were artifacts and treasures from three periods of Japanese history-scrolls, vases, decorative screens, writing materials, and musical instruments. A major feature was the lanterns – both the elaborate stone ones and the paper lanterns at ceiling level. The elements and art were designed and crafted in Japan and brought over by steamer and train, along with carpenters, stone workers and gardeners. The construction itself was an activity that drew many visitors.

Japan – the Land of the Rising Sun – has been from ancient times considered the birthplace of the Ho-o, or Phoenix. Phoenix represents regeneration or rebirth. The Phoenix Pavilion at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, was very symbolic. It showed to the world that Chicago had risen from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The pavilion was one of the most notable pieces of Japanese architecture in the United States.

After the Exposition, it remained here as a gift to the city, and was intended to provide a place for Americans to continue to experience Japanese culture and for nature to flourish. The South Park District [now the Chicago Park District] maintained the building as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

1933-34:  World’s Fair, A Century of Progress..
The government of Japan, constructed a traditional Nippon Tea House at the Century of Progress World’s Fair and also created a garden on Wooded Island’s northeast side and refurbished the Ho-O Den.

1946: End of World War II..
The Garden survived the World War II [1939-45]. However, after more than 50 years in the Wooded Island, the Phoenix Pavilion was burned down in 1946 in an act of vandalism. The garden was abandoned. Some pieces that survived the fire have been found and are with the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District.

1973: City of Osaka became Chicago’s Sister City..
One of the goals of the Sister Cities program became to revive the Japanese Garden in Jackson Park.

1981:A new garden with a pavilion, waterfall and an arched moon bridge was built.

1993: Renamed Osaka Garden..
In 1993, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Chicago and Osaka [Japan] Sister City Relationship, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago renamed the Japanese Garden as the “Osaka Garden”.

2013: Renamed Garden of Phoenix..

2016: Sky Landing by Yoko Ono installed.

 

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2016: Dedication and Opening Reception of Sky Landing in the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago,

2016: Dedication and Opening Reception of Sky Landing in the Garden of the Phoenix, Jackson Park, Chicago,

 

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Lost and Fount Art

Lost and Fount Art: August 2015 – Three Japanese sliding door paintings from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition were discovered in a Park District storage facility. In the photo is Chicago Park District historian Julia Bachrach.

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Lost and Found Artwork  of Japanese Garden from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

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The Phoenix Pavilion at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 was burned down in 1946 in an act of vandalism. However, some artwork survived.  Lost and found artwork includes carved “ranma” panels, and “fusuma” sliding doors.

In 1973,  four exquisitely carved – ranma panels – wooden architectural transoms, were found. These were stored under the bleachers of Soldier Field and were discovered  by Chicago Park District. Two of the ranma panels can be seen at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Last year, in August 2015, three sliding doors, known as fusuma were discovered in Park District storage facility, creating quite an excitement among Chicago historians and art aficionados.  Chicago Park District historian Julia Bachrach documented and confirmed the provenance, and there was further authentication by Janice Katz and Rachel Freeman of the Art Institute of Chicago.

For more on Lost and Found fusuma .. click here..

Parks General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said..
“The Rediscovered paintings remind us of the lush history that lives in Chicago Parks.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel added..
“At a time when we are working to honor Jackson Park’s historic past by revitalizing the park to restore Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision, it is a thrilling development to have found original artwork from the 1893 Exposition.”

 

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Lost and Fount Art

Lost and Fount Art: The mythical bird Phoenix on Japanese sliding door paintings from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition were discovered in a Park District storage facility.

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The journal “Mural Decoration” has a wonderful description of the Ho-o [Phoenix]..
“The Ho-o is described by the ancients as having the head of a cock, the beak of a sparrow, the neck of moving snake, feathers like dragon, scales piled one upon another, the wing of Kirin [a mythical animal], and the tail like that of a fish. Its plumage is brilliant with all the colors, the whole effect being one of supernatural beauty. Little difference exists between the male and the female. It is said to ascend for nine thousand miles into the heavens.”

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In the end I would say that the Garden of the Phoenix has a rich history and is a developing story.

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Published by Jyoti Srivastava
Image copyright © Jyoti Srivastava

 


 

REFERENCES:
A lot has been written about the Garden of the Phoenix. Here are some websites that I referenced to write this post..
The Garden of the Phoenix.. click here..
Osaka Garden, Hyde Park.. click here..
The Wooded Island: A Place for Peace.. click here..
US Japanese Gardens.. click here..

Osaka Garden..click here..

 


 

 

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