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31 October 2013

Angels in the sky

Yakushi-Ji temple in Nara is more than 1300 years old. It has two towers now, but the west tower was rebuilt when I was a schoolboy by a famous master of carpenter Joichi Nishioka.

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The east tower is original from the foundation of the temple, and is one of the national treasures. It was disassembling for repair when I visited weeks before.

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This means a great chance for us to see its parts closer. Here is a part of HouRin which is oftenly seen on stupa where Budda's ash placed, but top of the roof for this tower. It usually has 9 rings and each one has significant meaning.

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And this beautiful decoration panel usually installed above the HouRin is called SuiEn, water smoke in literal, possibly means avoiding fire.

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In SuiEn, we can see many angels are flying, dancing or playing instruments. Not like European angels, they don't have any wings, though.  ( related page is here ) It is said this kind of angel came to Japan from ancient Iran through Silkroad together with Buddism.

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