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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.


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.


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.


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


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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