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Ishi wo taten koto (石をたてん事)
The selection and placement of rocks is traditionally the most important part in building a Japanese garden. In the first known manual of Japanese gardening, the Sakuteiki, creating a garden is described as ‘Ishi wo taten koto’, which translates to ‘setting stones upright’. The Sakuteiki laid out very specific rules for the selection and placement of stones and warned that if the rules were not followed, the owner of the garden would suffer misfortune. This stemmed from ancient Japan, a time when superstitions were commonplace.
In Japanese landscaping, rocks are classified as either tall vertical, low vertical, arching, reclining or flat. For creating mountain-like compositions, usually igneous volcanic rocks, rugged mountain rocks with sharp edges are used. Smooth, rounded sedimentary rocks are on the other hand used for the borders of dry rivers of gravel. In Japanese gardens, individual rocks rarely play the starring role; the emphasis is upon the harmony of the composition.
Rules of setting rocks
There are many rules when it comes to setting stones in the Japanese garden. For example, a landscaper needs to make sure that all the stones, right down to the front of the arrangement, are placed with their most beautiful side towards the main viewpoint of the garden. If a stone has an insufficiently beautiful looking top, the landscaper should place it to give prominence to its side. Even if this means it must lean at a considerable angle. There should always be more horizontal than vertical stones. If there are "running away" stones, there must be "chasing" stones. If there are "leaning" stones, there must be "supporting" stones.
Rocks are rarely if ever placed in straight lines or in symmetrical patterns. The most common arrangement is one or more groups of three rocks. One common triad arrangement has a tall vertical rock flanked by two smaller rocks, representing Buddha and his two attendants. Other basic combinations are a tall vertical rock with a reclining rock; a short vertical rock and a flat rock; and a triad of a tall vertical rock, a reclining rock and a flat rock. Other important principles are to choose rocks which vary in color, shape and size, to avoid rocks with bright colors which might distract the viewer and make certain that the grains of rocks run in the same direction.
The most authentic Japanese rocks and stones for sale
Our Japanese garden center is unique outside of Japan and we would be happy to invite you for a visit! We have a wide range of original Japanese ornaments, rocks, decorations, plants and trees in our collection. Yokoso Japanese Gardens is the perfect place to find the ideal authentic Japanese rocks and stones for your Japanese garden. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you want to make an appointment.
The Yokoso Service
Please be advised that Yokoso Japanese Gardens can also assist in the search for, purchase or lease of authentic Japanese rocks & stones and ornaments for you. Products that you won't be able to find on our website can, most likely, be ordered. Please use our contact form. Provide a clear description of the desired product and a reference to a picture on the internet and we will try to find the product for you.
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