Weekly Photo Challenge: ZIGZAG, 2

What beautiful memories these particular zigzags conjure up!

Pagoda, Kiyomizu Temple

These are the vermilion zigzag edges of the pagoda associated with Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto. Anyone complaining about August heat in New England just needs to head for Japan in the summer. The very definition of HOT! But no matter, it’s worth it to be there anytime, in this ever-fascinating culture.

This next pagoda edge is far plainer and more rustic.

Pagoda, Nara

It’s also much older. It’s the wooden five-story pagoda of Hōryū-ji in Nara, built in the 7th century, one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. Centuries ago Nara was the capital of Japan, long before Edo, which became Tokyo.

Pagodas have interesting histories and functions, as befits their striking appearance. Zigzags make me think of lightning strikes, and pagodas by their height and isolation readily attract lightning. Many pagodas have a decorated finial at the top of the structure. It’s possible that when made of metal, the finial, sometimes referred to as a “demon-arrester”, also functions as a lightning rod.

I can’t guarantee anything about its demon-arresting qualities, however!




This entry was posted in Art, Buddha, Japan, Religion, Summer, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: ZIGZAG, 2

  1. jfb57 says:

    Love the oriental zigging & zagging!

  2. Ah .. I can still remember the view from Kiyomizu-dera. Unfortunately, the last time we were there, we had little time to truly appreciate what Kyoto had to offer. I hope to be able to make a trip back one day, hopefully in a much cooler season! 🙂

    • Touch2Touch says:

      A much cooler season — good idea!
      I remember what my Japanese friend told me about the difference between the heat in Japan and in the US. In the US, she said, it’s a little cooler in the shade. In Japan, it’s not. No difference, all hot!

  3. Mabel Kwong says:

    Love these set of photos. It always fascinates me how many temples in Japan and many other Asian countries have such intricate architecture. It would’ve taken ages to carve out a red roof like the one shown in your photo. Interesting demon-lighting-rod idea about the roofs. Never heard that one 🙂

    • Touch2Touch says:

      I never heard it before either, and since it comes from Wikipedia, one never knows! But it’s plausible and makes sense to me!
      More sure about the demon-fighting qualities than the lightning, though!

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        Haha, I never know whether to believe the things written on Wikipedia. I am sure the temple has stood through many lightning and thunder storms throughout the years. So maybe it does have lightning-defense powers…you never know!

      • Touch2Touch says:

        As you say, you never know!
        As for Wikipedia, however — it is very often my first word — but I generally don’t use it as the last word!

  4. Stef says:

    Amazing that a wood structure from the 7th century is still standing! I can’t begin to fathom all of the eyes that have seen it, all of the hands that have touched it, and all of the events it has geared witness to. Wow. Just, wow.

  5. Built in the 7th century? unfathomable. Buildings here that are 30 years old are too old and thought to be not worth fixing up. There is something so deeply beautiful about these zigzags.

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