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Old 04.05.2011, 21:36
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Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

The other week, we were walking along the lake in Zürich and right in front of China Garten, we noticed a middle-aged gentleman carefully piling rocks on top of one another...

He was creating some really beautiful pieces of art, and it made me wonder where this tradition has its origins?

Does anyone have an idea? Is this a Swiss thing?
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Old 04.05.2011, 22:02
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

A very new thing in CH. First time I saw this was in Sedona, Arizona, about 15 years ago. Not sure of exact origins, but now is linked to new wave spiritualism- I like them.

If you want to see a natural geological version, go to Euseigne in the Valais. Google Pyramides d'Euseigne.

Cairns are a bit different, but possible similar origin:

A cairn (from càrn in Scottish Gaelic, carnedd in Welsh, karn or carn in Cornish, carn in Irish) is a man-made pile of stones. Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose, conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, e.g. for increased visibility or for religious reasons.
In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times. Since prehistory, they have also been built as sepulchral monuments, or used for defensive, hunting, ceremonial, astronomical and other purposes.

Also linked to taoist (hence the Chinese connection) and native american shamans.

Last edited by Odile; 04.05.2011 at 22:13.
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Old 04.05.2011, 23:02
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

I first came across them in the centre of the SOuth Island of NZ, over twenty years ago. I love them as they are not upsetting the environment, can be changed and often make rather interesting shapes.
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Old 05.05.2011, 06:29
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

There's a guy that stacks rocks along the lake in Luzern. Just walk along the lakeside path to Verkehrshaus (Transport museum) on any weekend and he's there, or at least some examples are.

Since the last 3 years he's started selling greeting cards with photos of the rocks and he has a web page. Sorry, don't remember it at the moment.
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Old 05.05.2011, 08:08
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

The rock man in Zurich is amazing!! How does he balance rocks on their tips on top of each other? I almost touched one of these sculptures once to see if it was real, and it was....I want to know how it's done.
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Old 05.05.2011, 08:09
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

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Does anyone have an idea? Is this a Swiss thing?
Hi newlyswissed

I talked to the guy once a couple of months ago. It was still winter but a sunny day. He said he's been doing it for a couple of years now but that he wasn't the first one (and won't be the last).

As for the origin, it definitely is NOT a Swiss thing Odile made a pretty good summary of possible origins!

I think it's a cool thing that there is someone like that. It gives the lake promenade a "museish" touch.
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Old 05.05.2011, 08:36
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

Here's a photo I took of one of these rock...things....
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Old 05.05.2011, 08:46
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

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A very new thing in CH. First time I saw this was in Sedona, Arizona, about 15 years ago. Not sure of exact origins, but now is linked to new wave spiritualism- I like them.
This is what I know to be right. At the Sedona Buddhist Stupa (a tower meant to act as a prayer amplifier) visitors would build small towers out of rocks in hopes of magnifying prayers even more. Truth be told, the new age flavor of Sedona and its "vortices" may have mixed with a Buddhist tradition, but it was interesting nonetheless.
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Old 05.05.2011, 09:17
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

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The rock man in Zurich is amazing!! How does he balance rocks on their tips on top of each other? I almost touched one of these sculptures once to see if it was real, and it was....I want to know how it's done.
Yeah I've seen that! It defies belief! Until you walk a little further down and see the metal rods that they slot the rocks onto, 'ealth 'n safety don't ya know
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Old 05.05.2011, 09:19
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

I think it's+been going on for a few years at the China Garten , Zurich.
A couple of years ago I saw one dude doing it. He wasn't what 'd instantly describe as a traditional middle aged gentleman more of a late twenties/ early thirties kind of hippie.
I watched for a while to see what the technique / trick was like putting mud in between the stones or something. But I couldn't see anything unusual, he just picked up a stone and added it. It only took him about 10 - 15 seconds. Marvellous.
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Old 05.05.2011, 09:28
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

They are called Steimannli (in Swiss German). Besides the traditional belief they also have a practical function as a signpost in mountainous areas. These days they are simply piled for memorial reasons, e.g. I was there and did this.

We once did the 5 lake tour at Pizol and there are tons of them.
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Old 05.05.2011, 09:29
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Re: Rock Piling in Zürich - Tradition?

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Does anyone have an idea? Is this a Swiss thing?
Quote:
A very new thing in CH. First time I saw this was in Sedona, Arizona, about 15 years ago. Not sure of exact origins, but now is linked to new wave spiritualism- I like them.
Quote:
View Post
As for the origin, it definitely is NOT a Swiss thing Odile made a pretty good summary of possible origins!
Quote:
View Post
This is what I know to be right. At the Sedona Buddhist Stupa (a tower meant to act as a prayer amplifier) visitors would build small towers out of rocks in hopes of magnifying prayers even more. Truth be told, the new age flavor of Sedona and its "vortices" may have mixed with a Buddhist tradition, but it was interesting nonetheless.
Having also visited Sedona - nice place, but for the pseudo artie-farties and 60's hippies throwbacks - I kind of like the idea of it's origins here, with the beautiful red rocks, but tend to learn towards the original native peoples starting it.

However, I personally believe it actual stems from a strange ritual from another obscure tribe of a faraway land.

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