A CENTURIES OLD TRADITION
"Rain in the garden.
Crickets, chirping in the hedge,
sing to sodden blooms."
The Japanese Tea Garden is a traditional form of landscaping that incorporates Zen design principles to create a harmonious, inviting arrangement. The objective of a tea garden is to replicate grand, sweeping natural vistas in miniature, often in a highly abstract and stylized manner. Emperors and noblemen would personally oversee the curation of lavish gardens for the aesthetic enjoyment of themselves and their guests. In Buddhist temples, such gardens would serve as a focal point for meditation in the quest for enlightenment.
creating a space for mindfulness
Classic Japanese gardens take many forms. A roji is any garden containing a tea house where traditional tea ceremonies are held – these gardens are often simple and rustic by design. Karesansui, or “rock gardens,” are elaborately constructed meditation areas where white sands are used to represent the flowing water in creeks and streams. Kaiyu-shiki-teien, or “strolling gardens,” incorporate walking paths that lead the viewer to specific points designed to reveal carefully crafted tableaus.
One of the most important elements in any Asian garden is a water feature, and one of the most popular water features is a man-made waterfall. In an outdoor Zen garden, moonlight glints off the surface of the water while the rushing sound has a highly soothing effect. Indoor fountains replicate this concept beautifully, allowing you to enjoy the relaxing and meditative qualities of a waterfall in your own home. A hanging wall fountain is a beautiful accessory that makes a perfect complement to your Oriental furniture. Ours are made of stunning natural stone, with a metal frame in a variety of color choices.
The traditional Japanese lantern, called a toro (meaning “light basket”), originated in China. These classic lanterns are constructed of stone, wood, or metal. In ancient Japan, such lamps were used only in Buddhist temples to illuminate pathways; lit lanterns were considered to be an offering to Buddha. Eventually, their use carried over into private gardens and homes. Japanese lanterns typically come in two forms. Tsuri-doro (“hanging lanterns”) are traditionally hung from the eaves of a roof, while dai-doro (“platform lamps”) are placed along garden paths and flanking the entryway of the home. The most traditional stone lamps are designed in five sections, to represent the five elements in Buddhist doctrine. The lower portion that touches the ground represents the earth, the next section represents water, the cage housing the flame represents fire. The two uppermost segments of the lamp point upwards, suggesting air and spirit.
provoking thought through harmonious balance
Most Asian furniture is designed to serve its purpose without distracting the eye with unnecessary frills and details. Accessories are crafted to delight the eye, and add visual impact to the harmonious appeal of the overall arrangement. Certain ornaments are intended to invoke thought in the beholder – serving as focal points for meditation, reminders of life's impermanence, or a testament to history. Our museum-quality reproductions of the famous Chinese Terra Cotta warriors serve all three functions beautifully. One of the most heralded archaeological discoveries of modern times, the thousands of life-sized clay statues found in Xi'an were created around 200 B.C. to accompany the first emperor of China into the afterlife. These perfect small-scale replicas of the famous clay guardians are sure to make a regal statement in your Asian-inspired home.