Photo of the Week: 09 A

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The answer to where the Photo was taken is Nikko, Japan at the Toshogu Shrine.

A brief history to understand the temple…

“Ieyasu Tokugawa was born in the warring states period. He survived the chaos, and unified entire country. Ieyasu was assigned as Seii-taishogun (Great generalissimo) in 1603 and opened the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (Tokyo)… Ieyasu aimed to be the guardian of Japan. Nikko is located on the north of Edo. The north was considered as the taboo direction, where demons come into. Therefore, he wanted to place himself in the taboo direction in order to protect Japan from the evil things. He hoped long life of Tokugawa government and the eternal peace. ” -

This is an amazing complex of thirty five buildings that took thousands of craftsmen and over 4 million workers to create. This temple is unique for the amount of color and gold used along with being lavishly ornate in details and carvings which is not typical in Japan.

Other important item to note is, this temple has the original carvings of the three wise monkeys, “Hear no evil, Speak no evil, See no evil,” along with seven other panels depicting lessons on “a way of life”. In the context of Leyasu life’s work in unifying a warring country and the religious belief that evil comes from the north these carvings have much importance and meaning in protecting his homeland.

The photo of the room I shared earlier has a focal point towards the outdoors by what appears to be a simple use of lines, but these are lines that are actually complex in the use of a mathematical formula that creates a sense of balance and proportion that leads the eye away from the interiors towards the exterior view. It is also important to note the palette of colors being neutral and refined, against the vivid colors of the outdoors plants and temples along with nature light drawing the eyes outwards. This room is one of the newer and simpler rooms. Take a moment to check out some of the more complex and ornate rooms such as the the General’s Room or Haiden Oratory.


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