The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 2. Garden Stones

Buddhist stones in private gardens Guardian Worship and Deities

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To a certain extent, this custom of applying a religious meaning to the principal rocks and stones of a landscape has been introduced into ordinary gardens, in which many of the important stones still preserve a sacred character. Formerly it was said that the principal boulders of a garden should represent the Kuji, or Nine Spirits of the Buddhist pantheon, five being of standing, and four of recumbent form; and it was supposed that misfortune was averted by observing this classification. Whatever the style of a landscape composition, the "Guardian Stone," "Stone of Worship," and "Stone of the Two Deities" must never be dispensed with, their absence being regarded as most inauspicious. On the same principle, there are certain lithic forms which are considered unlucky, and are therefore invariably avoided.