Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A miniature river of stones

I am going to the Museum of Civilisation on the other side of the Ottawa River this morning and if I have time shall take a look outside at the Japanese "Zen Garden" ––created on a rooftop opposite the main building. This miniature landscape has a simple, peaceful look, resembling a mountain stream and its rocky banks, with pebbles representing the flow of water. (I took these photos about a month ago, so with the season's advance, the look will be different now.)

The Japanese co-designer Shunmyo Masuno has done such things in other parts of the world as well, using material found locally (here, the stones come from the Gatineau hills). You can find another picture of the Gatineau garden on his "Overseas" page (scroll down). It was designed with the theme Wakei No Niwa in mind, a reference to understanding and respect between the Japanese and Canadians. The pebbles may only be raked on ceremonial occasions by a Zen Buddhist priest. The garden was officially opened in 1995 in the presence of Prince and Princess Takamado of Japan.

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