another furniture finale

This is the piece i built this summer in furniture studio. its a butsudan (literally means buddha house) but it is a Buddhist shrine as it were, which most Buddhists (particularly the Japanese sects with which i am familiar) maintain in their own home.. i was raised buddhist, although i don't exactly practice anymore, i still have all of my religious para that i should have in its 'proper' place. my buddhist upbringing is still a profound aspect of my ethos/values or way of looking at life and the world. i may go back to practicing at some point. anyway, this is what a traditional butsudan of this size would look like:

it has outer and inner doors. inside the inner doors in this sect of buddhism, is a scroll called a gohonzon which you focus on during meditation or saying the mantra (Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo)...you may remember this from the tina turner movie?!? anyway, the butsudan usually sits on top of a table which is the altar. the altar would have candles, lemon leaves, incense etc. for mine, i wanted to remain true to the tradition of what a butsudan is and does but adjust its design for my lifestyle. instead of sitting on a table it is wall hung. i wanted something that was minimal but also quietly beautiful and discretely spiritual. for instance when the outer doors (steel) are open, the inner door doesn look like a door. it just looks like a recessed panel of very figured walnut with 2 walnuts trapped inside! where the tree cracked or had a branch. it doesn't scream..."religious object!" but it looks special. (to me) like a work of art.

then with a little interaction...the butsudan can turn into the altar. that little handle can be removed and the panel/door slides down. to reveal the gohonzon (not shown here) and 2 shelves one opens out (the top one) and has the incense burner, two candles and a water bowl.the bottom shelve has two testtube/mini vases for single stems of lemon leaves and enough space to hold the sutra(prayer) book. so if i decide to practice i can.

its small (not tiny though 3 feet long when closed), but fitting for my lifestyle and household...my mom called it a starter butsudan! because a lot of the buddhists we've known for 20yrs have more monumental style butsudans and altars that can take up a whole wall. that just didn't fit for me. anyway, these ARE NOT the professional pictures. i think those will be ready next week. i'm sure they will be better, less washed out and blurry, i'll replace these with those.


Anonymous Kari said...

Yamani! This is AMAZING!! So beautiful. My gosh, you are such a talented artist and thinker - who knew someone could excel at so many things BESIDES architecture! :) I love the contrast between the steel and the wood. I especially love the spiritual and aesthetic aspects of the piece. I can't wait to see it in person!!!

Anonymous melon said...

Nice. Beautiful simplicity, and perhaps in that simplicity and elegance more in keeping with Buddhism than the traditional butsudan illustrated.

Blogger mad architect said...

I must say I was staring at that box for a considerable time. It is so understated but elegant, particularly the rough hewn of the inner sections. Yam my hats off to you on this one.

Anonymous Becky said...

I love this! Do you sell these at all. My email address is beckynaka@msn.com if you do or would be interested. It is a beautiful Butsudan.



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