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A Chōzubachi (手水鉢) is an ornamental water basin found in the traditional Japanese garden. It is used for the ritual washing of the hands and rinsing of the mouth before a person is allowed to participate in the tea ceremony or before entering holy grounds such as Buddhist temples or Shinto shrines. The word Chōzubachi directly translates to: Water basin for the hands.
This Chōzubachi can beautifully be used in a traditional Tsukubai arrangement. In this authentic set-up, specific functional stones named Yaku-ishi (役石) are placed around the Chōzubachi. The stones placed on either side are called Teshoke-ishi (手燭石) and Yuoke-ishi (湯桶石), while the stepping stone in the front is called Mae-ishi (前石). A stone Ikekomi lantern can also be placed behind the Chōzubachi together with a tree and various plants. Additionally, a Hishaku bamboo ladle and a water supplying Shishi Odoshi are frequently integrated in the arrangement.
The term Tsukubai is a conjugation of the verb Tsukubau (蹲う), which means to bow or to crouch down. This is not only in reference to how the arrangement is practically used, but also emphasizing the importance of humbleness. An aspect that can be considered the core of Japanese society and culture as a whole.
The Japanese word Enchū (円柱) means cylinder. This refers to the shape of this type of Chōzubachi.
• Origin: Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture, Japan
• Material: Shirakawa Stone (白川石)
• Age: Meiji Period
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