Moon Bridges

Moon bridges are common in Chinese and Japanese gardens.

If you look at the Pont d’Arc near the Chauvet Cave, you will see that it resembles a moon bridge.

The Sakuteiki is a book about garden design and garden construction. It was written a thousand years ago. The book is attributed to Tachibana no Toshitsuna, who was a member of the Japanese aristocracy. There is an illustration in the English translation by Jiro Takei and Marc Keane, which shows a model of Heiankyo¹. For me, the layout of some of the houses and gardens bears a striking resemblance to the aerial view of Chauvet. Is this pure coincidence, or was Chauvet of such great importance that its image has been kept alive for 35,000 years?

Image: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Lynn Fawcett

I have prepared a plan (above) which interprets Chauvet in the light of the gardens described in the Sakuteiki. The annex halls are other decorated caves located near the Chauvet Cave.

The Sakuteiki gives precise instructions for the location of the moon bridge. It says: ‘the bridge should not align with the centre of the central stair roof but rather should be placed off-centre in the garden so that the eastern post of the bridge aligns with the western post of the central stair roof.’2 I don’t have the precise coordinates for the bridge and the original entrance to Chauvet. However, their alignment is relatively close.

My question for the archaeologists is:

Does anyone have the coordinates for the points at Chauvet Pont d’Arc that would be equivalent to those of the eastern and western posts?



  1. Jiro Takei and Marc P. Keane, 2008: Sakuteiki Visions of the Japanese Garden, p. 144, Figure 29: Aristocratic Residences (looking north): Tuttle Publishing
  2. Jiro Takei and Marc P. Keane, 2008: Sakuteiki Visions of the Japanese Garden, p. 155: Tuttle Publishing