Japanese Tsukubai Kikko
A Tsukubai is basically the name for an arrangement of a Tetsubachi or Chozubachi, a lantern and some special stones. Often an Oribe lantern is placed behind it and stones with various roles, Yaku-ishi, are arranged around the waterbasin. A wash basin with various stones around it, often the Teshoku-ishi and Yuoke-ishi to the right and left, the Suimon in the centre and the Mae-ishi in front.
In Japan, a Tsukubai is a washbasin provided at the entrance to holy places for visitors to purify themselves by the ritual washing of hands and rinsing of the mouth. This type of ritual cleansing is the custom for guests attending a tea ceremony or visiting the grounds of a Buddhist temple. The name originates from the word Tsukubau, meaning to crouch or to bow down, an act of humility.
Tetsubachi and Chozubachi are usually made of granite or stone, and are often provided with a small ladle and rest set called Hishaku Oki, ready for use. A supply of water may be provided via a bamboo pipe called a Kakei.
Japanese Samurai armor is called Kikko. Because the natural patterns on the Kikko Seki stone resemble the patterns used in Japanese armor these stones are called Kikko Seki. The Kikko Seki stones are very rare and very much appreciated in Japan.
• Origin: Nagoya
• Material: Kikko stone
• Age: Meiji Period
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