The Garden Guide

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

Island stones, Horai and Tortoise

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ISLAND STONES. Among the islands introduced into water gardening are three which require special stones for their adornment. The first of these is the "Elysian Isle" (Horai-jima), the idea of which is taken from Chinese legend (see page 32). It is represented in the form of a tortoise, and its ornamental rocks bear names typifying different members of this animal, as follows:� "Tortoise Head Stone" (Kito-seki),�representing both in shape and position the head of the tortoise. "Fore-legs Stones" (Rioshu-seki). "Hind-legs Stones" (Riokiaku-seki). "Tail Stone" (Osaki-seki). The above are placed in position with great care, and a pine tree is planted in the centre of the island, as if it grew out of the back of the tortoise,�a common emblematical representation indicating the great strength and age of the shell of this animal. Sometimes a rock, having the form of a young tortoise, is used instead of the pine tree.