Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yet More Nio of Kunisaki


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Continuing with my cataloging of the Nio found in the Kunisaki Peninsular of northern Kyushu. Nio, temple guardians, ar nowadays found only at temples whereas before the separation of buddhas and kami, shinbutsu bunri, of early Meiji they could be found at many shrines as well. The Nio of Kunisaki are unusual in two ways, one they are made of stone rather than the usual wood, and second that they are still found guarding shrines.

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These first two are at Hie Shrine, a branch of the shrine complex below Mt Hie and Enraykuji. The kunisaki area is home to a version of shugendo that was based on tendai buddhism from Enryakuji so its not surprising to find a Hie Shrine here.

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When we came upon these next two Yoko remarked that they looked like they were talking on cellphones and now I cant get that image out of my head.........

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They are standing guard at Tawara Wakamiya Shrine. We chatted with an old gentleman who was tidying the shrine grounds and he very kindly unlocked the shrines office/meeting room and showed us the shrines "treasures", a great collection of old masks....

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There was also this pair of small wooden nio in a style quite unlike anything Ive seen before.....

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The shrine was home to an old buddhist painting but it has been removed to a museum.

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This final Nio is on the steps to Shirahige Tahara Shrine, a branch of the main Shirahige Shrine located on the shore of Lake Biwa not far from Hie. It enshrines a Korean "king" who settled the area around Mt. Hie and lake Biwa.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting look at guardian statues. In Okinawa, Shisa are everywhere, not just at shrines. Its great to see the history of different areas of Japan through its art. Thanks for sharing!

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