Nature's Poetry Unveiled: Exploring the Symbolism and Design Philosophy of Chinese and Persian Gardens through Metaphor and Art


  • Mengbi Li Victoria University, Australia
  • Hing-Wah Chau Victoria University, Australia
  • Elmira Jamei Victoria University, Australia
  • Hamidreza Pourakbar Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran



Chinese garden, Persian garden, symbolic meaning, art, nature


This paper delves into the symbolism and design philosophy of Chinese and Persian gardens, revealing the profound depths of their metaphorical and artistic expressions. As landscape architecture, gardens act as conduits for cultural transmission, embodying an understanding of the cosmic order and reflecting the passage of history. Focusing on pre-modern Chinese and Persian gardens, this study explores their design philosophy and characteristics. Chinese gardens prioritise the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature, exemplified through a deep reverence for the natural world. Meticulous treatment of the landscape seamlessly integrates gardens with their surroundings, drawing inspiration from elements found in Chinese landscape painting. Persian gardens, on the other hand, showcase the distinctive Chahar Bagh layout, providing glimpses into an ideal cosmic order. Influenced by the beauty of Persian poetry, these gardens take on the essence of living poems, evoking a sense of tranquillity and allegorical meaning. Waterways, pavilions, and lush vegetation create captivating oases within the arid landscape, inviting relaxation. By analysing the architecture, symbolism, and design philosophy of both Chinese and Persian gardens, this study uncovers the remarkable similarities and differences that exist between them. However, these gardens extend beyond their physical manifestations, beckoning visitors to engage with metaphorical realms. The integration of poetry, painting, and various art forms enriches the multidimensional experience, eliciting profound sentiments and unlocking the transformative power of nature's poetry. Ultimately, Chinese and Persian gardens embody the very essence of nature's poetry, serving as bridges between built environments, humanity, and the natural world. Through the harmonious fusion of art, design, and the intricate relationship between humans and nature, these gardens inspire awe and reveal the timeless beauty that resides within nature's realms.

Author Biographies

Mengbi Li, Victoria University, Australia

Course Co-Chair of Building Design, and First Year College Liaison at the College of Sport, Health and Engineering, and Research Fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities (ISILC), Victoria University. Her research interest is in seeking pathways to intellectual understanding and response in architecture from its own history and culture. She is an Editorial board member for the Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism. She also serves as a reviewer for a number of highly-ranked international journals. Room 606d, Building D, Victoria University Footscray Park Campus, 70/104 Ballarat Road, Footscray, VIC3011, Australia.

Hing-Wah Chau, Victoria University, Australia

Course Chair in Building Design and Senior Lecturer in Built Environment at the College of Sport, Health and Engineering and Research Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities (ISILC), Victoria University. His research interests lie in sustainable built environment, architectural and urban design, design for ageing and inclusive design, as well as design for health and wellbeing. Room 606e, Building D, Victoria University Footscray Park Campus, 70/104 Ballarat Road, Footscray, VIC3011, Australia.

Elmira Jamei, Victoria University, Australia

Associate Professor in Built Environment at the College of Sport, Health and Engineering, and Associate Director Engagement and Impact at the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities (ISILC). She is also the Deputy Director for Green Research Translation at ISILC.

Hamidreza Pourakbar, Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran

Has graduated from Hakim Sabzevari University at Sabzevar, in Iran. He is a member of ICOMOS and the Iranian Landscape Science Association in Tehran, Iran. Number 210, Khaghani7ST, Khaghani BLV, Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan, Iran, Postal Code: 9177749439.


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How to Cite

Li, M., Chau, H.-W., Jamei, E., & Pourakbar, H. (2023). Nature’s Poetry Unveiled: Exploring the Symbolism and Design Philosophy of Chinese and Persian Gardens through Metaphor and Art. Landscape Architecture and Art, 22(22), 157–165.