The stone water basin has had an honored place in japanese gardens for centuries.
Stone water basins or "chozubachi" originated in ancient
shrines and temples for worshippers to wash their hands and
rinse their mouths in before entering. This was seen as an act to
purify the mind and body.
The water basin originated as "chozubachi's", were
usually 16" or taller in height. Tea-masters later redesigned the bowls to the height of 12" or shorter to create the "tsukubai".
The tsukubai, or crouching bowl, was designed to create the right state of
mind before guests joined the tea ceremony.
Many japanese gardens today have both the chozubachi and tsukubai and are often fed
with water from a bamboo spout called "kakei".