28 December 2012

The Stones of Japan

World's most famous stone garden, at Ryoan-ji temple, Kyoto.
In May of 2012, my husband and I had the privilege to travel to Japan with a textile study tour. We saw and did many wonderful things and, of course, took lots of pictures. That's the cliche of the American tourist, isn't it? - too casually dressed, guidebook sticking out of travel bag, both hands around a camera, viewing the world through a lens, literally and perhaps figuratively, too.  The American traveler in Japan is weighed down by much historic baggage, however light the carry-on in the overhead bin.

Well, I do like to take pictures, and to buy postcards, too.  My studio is lined with pictures and printouts, sources of much inspiration, not to mention memories.

It took some time to process my 2,000+ images, but here's a small sampling, with more to come in the next year - don't worry, there will be plenty of textiles!

While Japan's big cities are full of glass and steel skyscrapers,  my Japan blog posts begin with something of an ode to an old material, stone.

As always, click on any image to enlarge it.

Stone can hold up massive buildings.  
Nagoya Castle; stone base survived WWII fires.

The stone base of the main donjon of Nagoya Castle, finished in 1612, survived World War II, scorched but intact. The upper part of the castle was rebuilt in 1959.

Stone can support small structures, too.
Garden porch, House of Takeda, Arimatsu (near Nagoya).

Stone can be massive... 
No, not Cuzco. Nagoya Castle, stone base.
Or delicate.
Detail, bridge at Tokugawa Museum, Nagoya.

Stone can have polished manners...
Furukawa Museum, Nagoya.

 Or be rough and ready.
Nagoya castle stones, with marks of donor clan.

Stone likes water, outdoors...
Garden, Tokugawa Museum, Nagoya.
Garden detail, Tamesaburo Hall, Nagoya.
And indoors too.
Bathroom with shower seats, Jinzenji residence, Kyoto.

 Stone also likes flowers.
Hedge wall, Miyama village.

 Stone welcomes us to sacred space.
Torii gate, shrine entrance, Kiryu.

Stone holds our prayers...
Votive shrines, with paper prayers, Kiryu.

And our words.
Inscription stone, Mount Hiei (near Kyoto).

Spirits live in stone...
Spirit stones, with offerings, Ryoan-ji garden, Kyoto.

As do memories.
Jizo memorial statues at Zojo-ji temple, Tokyo.

Stone paths show us the way,
Restaurant entrance, Tokugawa Museum, Nagoya.

Wherever our journey takes us.
Garden path, Seifu-en ryokan (inn) near Kiryu.