Yame Stone Garden Lanterns
The soft, elegant stone is resistant to heat and cold, and allows moss to thrive. Forms created by skilled craftsmen bring out an air of refinement.
◇Yame’s continuing history of stonework
The production of Yame stone garden lanterns resulted from Nagano region’s abundant mining of Aso tuff, an ideal material for the application, as well as the presence of masons - craftsmen who could cut, carve and lay the stone. In addition, human- and horse-shaped sculptures have been unearthed in the hills around Yame, chiefly the Iwatoyama Kofun (ancient burial mound), suggesting that stone carving has a long history in the region.
◇Main characteristics of Aso tuﬀ
The characteristics of Aso tuff, the volcanic rock used in Yame stone garden lanterns, include being a soft stone ideal for intricate carving; water absorbency that enables moss to grow and plants to take root; superior resistance to heat and cold, and; being comparatively light, making it easier to carry. Many stone bridges in the Yame region were also built using tuff.
◇Types of Yame stone garden lanterns
The production of Yame stone garden lanterns is said to have begun during the Momoyama period in the late 16th century with the appearance of three-legged Yukimi lanterns that combined practical and aesthetic sensibility in teahouse gardens and parks. Sizes range from mini lanterns to those over 2 m tall, along with various styles from natural tree designs to round Yukimi lanterns.