George Nakashima was a gifted Japanese American architect and woodworker, a master craftsman, whose work received international recognition. During his lifetime, he often spoke about giving new life to trees, and his creative development followed a path through several different cultures and philosophies. So in work, as in living, Nakashima was a citizen of the world, …. but above all he thought of himself as an intermediary between heaven and earth, joining hands with nature rather than destroying and dominating her.”
Six Peace Tables: One for Each Continent
In 1984, George Nakashima received an unusually large and beautiful walnut log, as he pondered what to do with this phenomenal gift from nature, he had the vision to make something truly marvellous, a creation that would be, as he later said, “The most extraordinary piece of furniture ever made…a symbiosis of nature and man in the deepest spiritual sense.”
“As a genuine expression of nature and an act of beauty….Peace in a tangible form, instead of an abstract idea and an absence of war…the pure spirit of Peace for which all people yearn and the world politicians spurn….A shrine for all people and owned by no one.”
He decided to make not one, but a series, of works truly global in concept from the log: six magnificent altars to Peace, one for each continent, each to be placed in a site consonant with its meaning and purpose.
- The first Altar for Peace was consecrated and installed at the Cathedral of St.John the Divine in New York City in 1986.
- The second Table, built to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations in 1995, was made from the same monumental black walnut tree as the first and blessed in the same Cathedral. After serving its mission as a unifying presence at The Hague Appeal for Peace in May 1999, it was finally placed and inaugurated in the Russian Academy of Art in Moscow in 2001.
- The Peace Table for Asia, was meanwhile built and placed in Auroville in 1996, where it was given a temporary home in Bharat Nivas, The Indian Pavilion of Auroville’s International Zone. Later it was shifted to the Unity Pavilion, where it stood awaiting the completion of the Hall of Peace, its permanent home. On 11 February 2014 the Hall of Peace was inaugurated and the table was shifted there.
To read more about the Nakashima Foundation for Peace:
It seems the fact that George Nakashima became an ambassodor of peace and dedicated a good part of his life to the construction of these Peace Tables has some bearing on the not so pleasant experience he and his family had during World War II. To read more please follow the below link.