Thursday, January 6, 2011

Love Conquers All - Part 2

"In 1999, a big sculpture 'Hopes of Hungary' by a Japanese artist was unveiled in the central park of Szekesfehervar, attended by many Hungarians, including the city’s mayor. Szekesfehervar, an old historical town, is 60 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Budapest. In 2001, about 1,000 Hungarians celebrated the induction ceremony of the "Garden of Philosophy" consisting of eight statues built on Gellert Hill, Budapest, by the same sculptor. In 2005, another sculpture by the same Japanese artist was erected in Oradea, Romania, and both Hungarians and Romanians gathered to commemorate the friendly reconciliation between the two nations."

"These three events, however, were not reported by any Japanese news media. Many Japanese tourists head for Fishermen's Bastion, dismissing the Garden of Philosophy, which is within 100 meters from the Fishermen's Bastion. The Japanese travel agency had never guided the tours to the above sculptures."

The above two paragraphs are from the preface of the book "Cries of Danube", the second paragraph sounding a little harsh. The photo of the "Hopes of Hungary" statue itself is really awesome and astounding, embodying Nandor's incarnation of an anti-war motif and cries from the heart!

Toru-san was right in calling Nandor Wagner a Japanese artist because he was naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 1975. My trip to Budapest was in 2005 and had I known about it, I would have visited the Garden of Philosophy. But the distance from the said Fishermen's Bastion must be more than two kilometers and the roads very hilly. I was at the Gellert Hotel and hot springs and circled around the nearby citadel on foot on Gellert Hill. I found on the map the name of Orom utca, close to the said garden, but it needs to be annotated better or you need a good guide.

More time is needed for the information to be disseminated or there needs to be better publicity. I checked the official Wagner website.* As of August 17, 2010, I counted 1,000 visitors consisting of 700 Japanese, 165 Hungarians, 67 Americans, and 36 Swedes. All other nationalities were ones and twos.

What makes it difficult, in my opinion, is the name of the organization taking care of Nandor's 30 years of labor in Japan. It is called Tao Research Institute of World Culture & Development. Nandor himself was reported to have said it would take a century or more for his Garden of Philosophy concept to be understood.

Five figures stand around the center of the garden. They are Abraham, Echnaton, Jesus, Buddha and Lao Tse, which symbolizes different cultures and religions of the world. They are surrounded by three rings of statues, which represent religious (Kamisama, Hotokesama, Isten or Allah), philosophical (Gahdhi, Darma, St. Francis) and judicial (Hamurabi, Justinianus, Shotoku-Taishi) worlds.

Nandor conceived three complete sets of the Garden of Philosophy, one to be built in Japan (completed), one in Hungary (completed), and one in the U.S.A.(in progress).

Notes:
l) Official Nanor Wagner website
2) An English written book Wagner Nandor (2006) by Tibor Wehner, (art historian) available from Holnap Kiado, Budapest, Hungary
3) Cries of Donau, (2008) by Toru Shimomura, Gentosha, Tokyo. Toru's father is Kojin Shimomura (1884-1955), who wrote The Story of Jiro and A Book of Heaven and Earth - stories from Confucian Analects.

1 comment:

Bodó said...

I live near Garden of Philosophy in Budapest, and often go there to sit and think or listen to music. It is a wonderful place.
Do you know anything about the one in the USA?