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Kawara-bei


NO.12
Kawara-bei
Kawara-bei - a sight at Zen temples.
An unusual type of earthen wall can be seen at the Zen temples, Daitoku-ji and Tenryu-ji. Old roof tiles are set one atop another into the earthen wall, to form a kawara-bei (tile wall). Earth and tile alternate, creating geometric patterns, not unlike designs drawn in the white gravel of dry landscape gardens. One glance is followed by a closer look, to see whether there is any meaning or intention in the patterns. Aside from the design aspects, they also serve as reinforcement for the wall. For seekers after the essence of Zen, in which nothing is discarded lightly, reuse of old roof tiles in such a manner is perhaps a matter of course. Zen training is also an ecological exercise - is the impression one receives while standing before the wall.

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