The Reason Behind Water Features in Japanese Landscapes

A water feature is an absolutely vital part of any Japanese garden. They tend to be put right at the entrance of Japanese temples and homes because they are regarded as being representative of spiritual and physical cleansing. The design of Japanese fountains tends to be very simple because they are meant to draw attention to the water itself.

Moreover, water fountains with built-in bamboo spouts are very prevalent. p_645_pd_198__64654.jpg Under the bamboo spout is generally a stone basin which receives the water as it flows down from the spout. It should have a worn-down, weathered look as well. It is vital that the overall look of the fountain goes with the natural environment, so people typically place plants, rocks, and flowers around it. As you can probably deduce, this fountain is symbolic rather than just decorative.

An alternative is to buy a stone fountain, set it on a bed of rock, and place live bamboo and pretty stones around it. Eventually moss begins to grow over the stones and cover them, and as that happens the area begins to look more and more like a natural part of the landscape.

Anyone who has an extensive spot to work with can, of course, install a much larger water feature. Lots of people put in a koi pond or a tiny stream as a final touch.

However, water does not need to be an actual element in a Japanese water fountain. Potential alternatives include stones, gravel, or sand to symbolize water. The impression of a creek with running water can also be achieved by placing flat stones very closely together.

The First Outdoor Water Fountains

Towns and communities relied on working water fountains to conduct water for cooking, washing, and cleaning up from nearby sources like ponds, streams, or creeks. The force of gravity was the power source of water fountains up until the end of the 19th century, using the forceful power of water traveling downhill from a spring or creek to force the water through valves or other outlets. Striking and spectacular, large water fountains have been designed as monuments in nearly all cultures. When you see a fountain nowadays, that is certainly not what the first water fountains looked like. The 1st accepted water fountain was a natural stone basin created that served as a receptacle for drinking water and ceremonial functions. 2000 BC is when the earliest known stone fountain basins were used. The earliest civilizations that made use of fountains depended on gravity to drive water through spigots. Located near aqueducts or creeks, the functional public water fountains provided the local residents with fresh drinking water. Beasts, Gods, and Spiritual figures dominated the initial ornate Roman fountains, beginning to show up in about 6 B.C.. The people of Rome had an intricate system of aqueducts that furnished the water for the many fountains that were placed throughout the urban center.

Michelangelo’s Roman Wall Fountains

Michelangelo and Ammannati, two renowned Florentine maestros, crafted the first Roman wall fountains during the 16th century. In 1536 Michelangelo’s earliest fountain in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, part of the façade of the Palazzo Senatorio, was unveiled. Some years later, a more extravagant water exhibit was made possible with the extension of the Aqua Felice into the Capitol. Anticipating this, Michelangelo had added a more substantial basin styled on the late Cinquecento.

Was the well-known maestro the earliest to design wall fountains? Italy’s fountains truly show the influence his designs had on the styles found there. Today, this structural style is found at the Fountain of the River Gods at the Villa Lante, Bagnaia 1, and the Fountain of the Mugnone arranged among the stairs on the principal axis of the Villa Pratolino.

Rather than creating fountains based on his own brilliance, Michelangelo was doomed to integrating classical elements into Roman-styled structures. An original wall fountain for the top of the passageway of the Belvedere in the Vatican was commissioned to the reknowned artist by Julius III (1550-1555). A marble Moses striking the rock from which water flowed was to adorn the fountain. The option of the Moses figure was abandoned, however, because of the time it would take to create it and was therefore replaced by an antique image of Cleopatra. It was thought easier to use a traditional piece of art above the fountain rather than have the illustrious artist design a totally new figure.


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