This was once the foundation stone for the Gyojo Oo-Hash Bridge in Kyoto, Japan. ( the bridge over Kamo river along the 5th street) The bridge still stands today, although it has been rebuilt many times and now stands on entirely different foundations. In one of its past lives, it was the site of a historic battle in the 12th century during Japan’s feudal era, between the clan leader Minamoto no Yoshitsune and the warrior monk Musashibo-Benkei. Benkei lost the fight, his blood staining planks that have long since been replaced. This stone sat beneath the water. The large bump at its center served as a notch to receive the concave end of a wooden beam, a structural method of the art of Japanese joinery. Stones have long been carved in Japan by Ishiku (stone artisans). They are an essential facet of Japanese art and design, regarded alongside the highest forms of painting or ceramic arts. They can take many forms, such as lanterns, basins, or structural supports like this stone. But unlike a lantern or basin, this stone was never meant to be seen. Rather, the foundation stone sat for centuries under water and the immense weight of the bridge. What it lost to erosion was regained in the beauty of its character. Once it finally surfaced, the stone revealed this beauty to the world.
Among the best stone connoisseurs in Japan, foundation stones are revered as the most beautiful. This is precisely because the stones make no effort to be beautiful; they simply are. They embody the highest form of Wabi aesthetics, discovered and recognized by generations of collectors. This foundation stone now awaits to reveal its beauty in the new environment, in a new country.