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Since the 16th century, Shinto and Zen Buddhist teachings have reinforced the bond between nature and humankind. This tenet inspired the inclusion of small courtyard gardens (tsuboniwa) in Japanese homes*. These masterpieces of landscape design connect residents and guests with wild nature, provide light and cooling, and offer focus for aesthetic contemplation**.

This miniature tsuboniwa blends traditional materials of stone, plants, and bamboo with modern Corian material, which forms the enclosure of the garden. The serenity of the scene, dominated by the waterfall cascading down the stone wall, is enlivened by two tiny brass frog figures. The frame is reclaimed strand bamboo flooring. A recessed LED lamp accentuates the surface textures and facilitates plant growth, allowing this composition to be located on any wall, irrespective of available sunlight.

* Locher, M. (2012). Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 17-18.
** Mizuno, K. (2006). Courtyard Gardens of Kyoto’s Merchant Houses. Kodansha International. p. viii.

tsuboniwa wallscape with waterfall and plants
Evening Watersong
33" x 23" x 5"