The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 4. Garden Pagodas

Stone pagodas

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A favourite ornament in Japanese gardens of the better class is the stone Tower, or Pagoda. It is a structure in two, three, five, or more separately roofed stages, somewhat similar in shape to the large Chinese pagodas, though of ruder proportions. In certain examples, each storey has vertical sides which are cut into cusped openings, but in others the upper stages consist merely of a series of curved roofs placed immediately one over the other. Garden Pagodas are either supported upon curved stone legs, like the "Snow-scene Lanterns," or are carried solid to the ground. Their roofs are cut into plain concave slopes with projecting tilted eaves,�occasionally ornamented with rolls representing roof-tiles,� and are surmounted by long stone finials, consisting of several successive rings and a crowing ball or jewel. The most usual forms are copied from ancient monuments to be seen in the mortuary grounds of many old temples and mausolea, and as in the case of standard lanterns, these ornaments appear to have had a religious origin. Applied to gardening, however, they are purely decorative, and present a very picturesque appearance amid the foliage of the gardens, imparting to the composition the suggestion of actual landscape upon a diminutive scale. Fig. 14 illustrates the garden of Jojiu-In, attached to the Temple of Kiyomizu, in which a Pagoda is shown as a central feature; Fig. 15 represents another ancient garden designed by Sho-ami, which contains two of these ornaments. The ordinary name given by the Japanese to these garden structures is "Korean Tower" (Koraito), and they are described according to their number of stories, some being of considerable height. They are extensively employed in the gardens of China, whose arts, as is well known, first reached Japan through the medium of Korea.