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Japanese Lighting – Great Fixtures for Lighting Up Homes

The Japanese have a very neat and simple sense of style when it comes to lighting up their homes, both indoors and outdoors. Japanese lights are an integral part of a house and they set the mood and style for each room.

Japanese Lighting - Feeling of Zen

From paper lanterns, to religious uses of stone lamps, brass fixtures and bamboo or wooden light fixtures, Japanese lighting has a way of creating a statement with its simplicity. Japan's first light sources were the rice paper lamps introduced in the 1500s via China and Korea. Ishidōrō or traditional Japanese stone lanterns were brought to the country during the Asuka period around 6th Century AD. These lights were at first mainly used at temples in the form of votive lights, later gaining place at shrines, home gardens and tea parlors. Stone lamps were used to hold the sacred flame of Buddha and as symbollic offerings in Buddhism. The traditional forms of Japanese lighting include the Andon, the Bonbori, the Chōchin and Tōrō which are used to described lamps in a broad sense. The Andon is a paper lamp that surrounds a frame of bamboo, wood or metal, while the Bonbori is a six-sided wooden framed lamp covered by colored paper, mainly used during festivals. Chōchins are oblong paper covered lamps that have a base of bamboo seams split to form a spiral. They are mainly used to mark sacred places or traditional drinking places called izakaya.

Japanese Lantern - Authentic Beauty

Introduced into the country by travelers from the Asian subcontinent during the 1500s, the Japanese lantern has been a cultural and traditional icon of the country since centuries. Initially, stones were carved out into shapes that held oil lamps or candles, and placed in temples, shrines and other places of worship. But it was the paper lantern that began gaining popularity slowly, and more and more people started using them to lighten up their homes, store fronts, streets, inns, hotels, etc. Though the use of a traditional Japanese lantern has evolved into modern avatars with electric lights, mood lights, flashing lights and what not. It is said that a Korean Buddhist monk, traveling through China bought the first paper lantern into Japan. The lanterns were used heavily in celebrations and night festivities, the lights casting a warm glow over city streets. The collapsible bamboo framed lanterns are still visible hanging from eaves, outside residences, or spelling out menus outside a restaurant.

Japanese Lamp - Modern & Arcane

Today, the traditional Japanese lamp has gained a lot of changes over the years, yet the overall simplicity of the work remains intact. The Japanese like things simple, neat and compact, the style being visual even in modern day Japanese lights. Though stone lamps are not used much heavily except for outdoor garden decor, paper lamps are still abundant in most Japanese homes. Today, the Ishidōrō lamps are used during the sacred tea festivals, lighting paths leading to the ceremonial tea hut, or for illuminating ponds and lakes. The Sankou doro is a box-open type of stone lamp used to illuminate boat houses and lakes, while the Mizubotaru toro is one of the most famous stone lanterns in Japan. Shaped to resemble a firefly, this Water firefly lantern is today used popular to illuminate garden paths and even patios or driveway paths.

Written by Dennis Patterson

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