August 17, 2017

Hengaku

Seiryō-ji Temple, Ukyō-ku, Kyōto
Fujifilm Finepix X100
清凉寺(京都市右京区嵯峨釈迦堂藤ノ木町)

Chinese characters show 栴檀瑞像. Plaques carved with the names of buildings and hung from the eaves of gates or doors. This custom probably began in China during the Qin dynasty (秦朝, Shin-chō). During the Tang dynasty (唐朝, Tou-chō), it became customary for the emperor to offer a framed inscription when a Buddhist temple was built. This custom was transmitted to Japan, where carved wooded plaques can be found at the entrance gates of temples and shrines. One of the oldest examples is at Seiryō-ji (清涼寺). Framed paintings, calligraphy, as well as ema (絵馬), votive paintings of horses and other subjects on wood, were also popularly hung at temples and shrines.

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