Friday, 23 July 2010


The suikinkutsu, literally meaning ‘water harp chamber,’ is an underground Japanese water instrument which is usually located in temple gardens and places of ceremony. The water chime consists of an upside down pot with a small hole through it’s bottom. The upside down pot is buried underground, with a porous rock layer above and an impermeable layer below.

Water slowly seeps through the rock bed above, drips through the hole in the pot, and splashes in a shallow pool of water inside of the pot’s chamber. The dripping water creates a pleasant ringing sound, a sound who’s quality can be manipulated by the height of the water pool and the size and shape of the pot.

This magical instrument is an important object in Japanese culture. A suikinkutsu is often located below a hand washing basin – when the hands are washed, for a Japanese tea ceremony for example, the water chime is activated, creating an appropriately serene and relaxed mood for the ceremony.
>> Suikinkutsu Wikipedia page
>> Score for a Hole in the Ground - suikinkutsu inspired (and using no mics or speakers!) sound installation by Jem Finer


  1. Sounds amazing. Creating something without electricity is a good idea, somehow that kind of installations feel more 'real' to me.

    Anyway, suikinkutsu is a bit rude word in Finnish, will tell you some other time what it means. :-D

  2. Yeah I agree. I really want to do something that's totally interlinked & embedded in nature - that requires these natural forces to exist but that hopefully gives back to the landscape as well.

    haha I'd be interested to know what it means... let me know when I next see you!