After reporting the Chinese disapproval of English and European rules and lines, he described the highest exercise of the Chinese imagination as the creation of "figures, where the beauty shall be great, and strike the eye, but without any order or disposition of parts that shall be commonly or easily observed." (45) He explained that "[though] we have hardly any notion of this sort of beauty, yet they have a particular word to express it, and, where they find it hit their eye at first sight, they say the sharawadgi is fine or is admirable, or any such expression of esteem." (46)
A letter Walpole wrote to Horace Mann on 25 February 1750 shows that he himself was then "almost as fond of the sharawadgi, or Chinese want of symmetry, in buildings, as in grounds or gardens." (54) He apparently also knew that before Kent, no one--including Temple--had ever attempted much actual use of natural irregularity.
Clark, "Lord Burlington's Bijou, or Sharawadgi at Chiswick," The Architectural Review 95 (1944): 125-29, 126.
Unlike any other major writer of odes in the period, Shenstone used the genre (especially in "Rural Elegance") to threatricalize a persona of himself as refined pastoral swain who celebrates both nature and his ability to "improve" nature in terms of the Japanese gardening principle of sharawadgi
. (37) In fact, this idea--with its artful mimetic and both structurally and compositionally improved representation of the environment--seems to underlie Shenstone's theory of the generic hybridity of the pastoral ode.
Sir William Temple's use of the word Sharawadgi in his essay 'Upon the Gardens of Epicurus, or of Gardening in the Year 1685'(1) has aroused great interest in Chinese garden design, but the ambiguity of the word has defied source-hunters' desperate and strenuous attempts to find its derivation and meaning.
He argued that Sharawadgi seemed to be derived from Japanese 'soro-waji', 'not being regular', a form of the verb sorvu, and that it was 'used to describe an unsymmetrical design'.(7)
Sorowaji means, as Gatenby said, 'not being regular', but he erred when he connected it with Sharawadgi. It is true that it conveys the meaning of irregularity, but he failed to notice that the Japanese garden was not in principle highly esteemed because it was laid out in an unsymmetrical manner.
The word which is similar in meaning and pronunciation to Sharawadgi and which they would use to describe the Chinese garden is perhaps sawaraji or sawarazu.
Sawaraji is very similar to Sharawadgi in pronunciation, and it is possible that, when Temple heard it, it sounded like Sharawadgi.
No solid evidence has been provided to reinforce the claim that Sharawadgi came from either sawaraji or sawarazu, but these words express the general concept of Chinese and Japanese garden planning and are evidently more similar in pronunciation to Sharawadgi than sorowaji.