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Stone lanterns, Ishidōrō (石灯籠) in Japanese, are without a doubt the most characteristic part of the traditional Japanese garden. The phenomenon originated from China more than a thousand years ago, from there it spread to Korea and eventually was integrated into Japanese culture as well. All Japanese holy sites, such as Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, use stone lanterns as sacred light sources. During the 16th century, stone lanterns became very popular among Japanese tea masters and they were used to light the path through the tea garden leading towards the tea house. Ever since then, one or multiple stone lanterns are featured in almost every traditional Japanese garden.
A Japanese stone lantern is made up of multiple independent parts that need to be carefully stacked on top of each other to create a perfectly balanced lantern.
The Dōhyō Ishidōrō (道標石灯籠), also known as Signpost Lantern, can be spotted all over Japan. As the name implies, it is a combination between a signpost and a lantern. It is often placed along paths and guides visitors through the garden at night.
• Origin: Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, Japan
• Material: Shirakawa Stone (白川石)
• Age: Shōwa Period
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