The Limits of Metaphor

Ideology and Representation in the Zen Garden

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 New York University allen.weiss@nyu.edu
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It is impossible to separate the semiological from the mytho- logical, the poetic from the historical, the aesthetic from the ideo- logical. Since, as the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty insisted, any entity can be taken as an emblem of Being, one must be attentive to the symbolic power and semiotic valences of every word, object, and image. This article is an attempt to sketch out the role of the rock in Zen-inspired Japanese gardens and, consequently, to offer a new inter- pretation of one of the most famous gardens in the world, Ryōan-ji.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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