2 posts tagged granite
The use of stone in the Japanese garden (part one).
The veneration of stones in Japan can be traced back to neolithic times, and so it comes as no real surprise that the single most important element in a Japanese garden is stone. Stones used in gardens are chosen based upon their religious significance as well as their natural beauty.
Colour, grain, shape, texture, and size are all extremely important in the placement of stones in a Japanese garden. Stones weathered by the elements, scarred by volcanic activity, or polished smooth by centuries of water evoke images of nature.
There are many classifications of stone shapes and specific placements in a Japanese garden each with their own use. The most common is that of the tall standing stone. A single imposing standing stone can give a garden a sense of dignity, especially when standing alone in gravel or with sparse plantings.
Being a series of volcanic islands, stones in Japan are primarily volcanic: andesite, granite, chlorite, basalt, and limestone are commonly used in Japanese gardens. Granite in particular is a favourite for stone walls, garden edging, stepping stones, tsukubai (stone water basins), statues, and stone lanterns.
Japanese gardens create a sense of nature in miniature, balanced and harmonious. Stones tie the gardens to nature, giving the impression of mountains and cliffs surrounded by trees or of rivers and streams meandering through valleys.
The shapes of the stones are placed with great care to ensure that the eye is drawn in a particular direction. Leaning to one side, or standing upwards towards the sky, stones placed in a Japanese garden create the dynamics of the garden determining the direction in which the eye of the viewer is led through the composition of the garden.
Stepping stones and garden edging are chosen based upon the same principles, being similar in texture and type and blending with each other. Straight hard edges are especially avoided with smooth rounded stones being preferred. These evoke energy and movement as well as elegance and refinement.
A small rather new graveyard behind a temple on the side of a mountain in Isehara, Kanagawa prefecture. Japanese graves are made entirely of granite and are very expensive. Some feature the family crests of the person interred or of the business for which they were associated. Japanese are cremated as per the Buddhist tradition which arrived in the 8th century. Death is associated with Buddhism and so graves are Buddhist.