And yet grandeur is
the exception to the rule. Most of humanity has had to settle for far more
modest displays. Everything from unmarked graves to garish sepulchers and
mausolea dot our cemeteries. Moreover, these are generally regarded
as displays of personal wealth or a lack thereof. They become clear
reflections of the reality of what existed in the temporal world and its
transition to the other side.
Between the pauper
and the Pooh Bah we find everything else. There are the lucky few who touch
so many lives in so many positive ways that conscriptions are raised to
erect everything from a simple stone slab to an iconic cenotaph like the
Washington Monument. I once climbed all the way to the top of that structure
and was struck by the carved inscriptions on so many of the stones on
the way up. On the ninety foot landing was one paid for by the Grand
Division of the Connecticut Sons of Temperance. On the two hundred twenty
foot level is a 'Japanese Memorial' stone. And I saw many more like that.
Now to my point:
Japan is dotted everywhere with dedicatory stones. I am sure there are
thousands of them. One was erected in 1828 on the grounds of the Myōkendō in
Edo in honor of Toyokuni I. The artist was buried elsewhere, but a number of
his students in consultation with his son-in-law, Toyokuni II, decided to
honor their teacher with a memorial stone. This was paid for by the students
with the help of booksellers and fan dealers as can be seen from the
inscription on the backside. Beneath this stone are buried several hundred
drawings which were still in the artist's studio at the time of his death.
Many other Japanese
artists have been so honored.