Yoshino Gata Ishidōrō, Japanese Stone Lantern
Stone lanterns, Ishidōrō (石灯籠) in Japanese, are without a doubt the most characteristic part of the traditional Japanese garden. The phenomenon originated from China more than a thousand years ago, from there it spread to Korea and eventually was integrated into Japanese culture as well. All Japanese holy sites, such as Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, use stone lanterns as sacred light sources. During the 16th century, stone lanterns became very popular among Japanese tea masters and they were used to light the path through the tea garden leading towards the tea house. Ever since then, one or multiple stone lanterns are featured in almost every traditional Japanese garden.
A Japanese stone lantern is made up of multiple independent parts that need to be carefully stacked on top of each other to create a perfectly balanced lantern. The different parts are from top to bottom:
- Hōju/Hōshu (宝珠) - The jewel at the top of the lantern
- Ukebana (請花) - The foundation of the jewel
- Kasa (笠) - The umbrella which protects the fire box from harsh weather conditions
- Hibukuro (火袋) - The fire box
- Chūdai (中台) - The platform of the fire box
- Sao (竿) - The post
- Kiso (基礎) - The foundation
- Kidan (基壇) - The base platform
The Yoshino Gata Ishidōrō (吉野型石灯篭) is well-known for the role flower petals play in its presentation. Almost all the parts of the lantern are shaped like petals, giving it an overall elegant appearance.
Carved Japanese text can be seen on three sides of the lanterns Sao. One side has the Kanji character for darkness (闇) on it. On another side the year and month when the lantern was completed is carved. Shōwa year 7 month 10 (昭和七年十月), which in Japanese is the same as October 1932. On the last side the name of the former owner can be read, Yamada Genmatsu (山田源松).
- Depth = 19.69 inch
- Width = 19.69 inch
- Height = 73.62 inch
- Origin: Nagoya, Aichi prefecture, Japan
- Material: Shirakawa Stone (白川石)
- Age: October 1932 (Shōwa Year 7)
- Characteristics: Small parts of the Hibukuro are restored, as can be seen on the pictures