Wednesday, September 15, 2010
A couple of weeks ago we drove up to visit some old, important, temples. Each of them had a pair of Nio guardian statues, and each temple had strong histories of Shugendo, so each of them had statues of Fudo Myo-O.
The first we visited was Kiyomizudera in Yasugi, not to be confused with the more famous temple of the same name in Kyoto.
Kiyomizudera in Shimane was founded in 587 more than 200 years before the one in Kyoto.
I find myself becoming more and more fascinated by Fudo Myo statues..... partly because of their variety, and partly through their locations connected to ascetic practices of the Shugenja
The Niomon (Guardian Gate) was in an unusual location above and behind the main temple, not where one would expect it at the entrance to the temple. I thought it was maybe placed to the NE of the temple to offer protection from that most inauspicious direction, but checking the map said no. Maybe the original entrance was facing in a different direction.
Sculpturally they were not particularly sophisticated Nio statues, but the faded paintwork suggests they would have originally been quite impressive.
As is often the case, the Niomon was decorated with a huge pair of Waraji (straw sandals)