The Tidal Basin in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The 3,800 pound pagoda arrived in five crates, without assembly instructions. Reconstruction required assistance from the Library of Congress staff. Though its age is unknown, the design and the four seated Buddhas carved on the base are consistent with the Kamakura period (1192–1333).
Origins. Pagodas originated in India as a stone or earthen burial tomb, or stupa, consisting of a dome with a pole in the center, which extends through the top. The bones or ashes of the deceased are placed under the pole, which represents the center of the universe and collects energy for birth and creation.
After Buddha asked to be buried in one 2,500 years ago, stupas acquired a new religious significance and generally stand in or near Buddhist temples.
Pagodas of Japan. The unique Japanese construction exhibits beauty and surprising endurance. Though susceptible to fire, Japan's pagodas are remarkably resistant to earthquakes and typhoons. The 104 foot tall, 5-tiered Pagoda of Horyuji in Nara, still stands 1,300 years after its construction and shows no sign of instability. The Pagoda of Toji, in Kyoto is the tallest in Japan, at 180 feet. However, the Pagoda of Shokokuji (before it burned down) was nearly twice as tall, at 355 feet.
Garden Pagodas. Essentially models of the multi-storied wooden pagodas, stone pagodas retain religious significance. They represent the philosophies of Buddha and console the spirits of the dead. Although found near temples and shrines, they also frequently grace public and private gardens.
The Zen Buddhist reverence for nature heavily influences Japanese gardens which tend toward balanced asymmetry, rather than the geometric symmetry of European gardens. In Japan, gardens look natural and incorporate elements of water, stone, and plants. Thus, a stone pagoda provides the element of stone while also indicating the underlying philosophy of the garden.
Erected by National Mall & Memorial Parks, Washington D.C. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Location. Marker has been confirmed missing. It was likely located near 38° 53.189′ N, 77° 2.499′ W. Marker was in The Tidal Basin, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker could be reached from Independence Avenue east of West Basin Drive, SW, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Washington DC 20037, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. The First Japanese Cherry Trees (a few steps from this marker); A Symbol of International Friendship (within shouting distance of this marker); Japanese Stone Lantern (within shouting distance of this marker but has been reported missing); Japanese Stone Lantern - Lighting the Way (within shouting distance of this marker); District of Columbia War Memorial (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); District of Columbia World War Memorial (about 700 feet away but has been reported missing); Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (about 700 feet away); John Paul Jones Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away).
More about this marker. This site’s editor has received word that this interpretive panel is only installed during the Cherry Blossom Festival (end of March, start of April). A permanent replacement marker is in the works and when it is erected this panel will be retired. —Nov 3, 2007.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Categories. • Horticulture & Forestry •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 28, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 8,904 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 28, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.