Thursday, September 29, 2022

Guardians of Kitano Tenmangu in Kurume


On the north bank of the Chikugo River in Fukuoka, and now a part of Kurume City, is a large Tenmangu Shrine established in the 11th Century. A branch of the original Kitano Tenmangu shrine established in Kyoto, the area around the shrine is now called Kitano.

Tomorrow I  will post photos of the shrine with inf0 about it, but for now a sequence of pics on the gurdian statues there, starting with komainu, of which there were multiple pairs of stone ones lining the approach.

Inside the gatehouse were also some of the older style of komainu carved in wood. Unusually they were painted red

Also inside the gatehouse was a pair of Zuijin, the shinto version of Buddhist Nio guardians. Though some date back to the Edo period, many are post Meiji era and replaced Nio.

Zuijin was the original term for imperial guards, and they are most often shown holding bows and arrows.

Flanking the main hall are a pair of stylized bird statues, one gold, the other silver. Sometimes you find statues of doves at Hachiman shrines as the dove is messenger of this god of war in Japan but I really dont know what these are or what they represent.

Many shrines have a wooden statue of a white horse, Based on a very old tradition of donating a horse to a shrine to pray for rain, this is also the origin of the ema votive plaques.....

Unusual, and I'm not sure of their significace, but there were also this trio of red horses...... more on the shrine tomorrow....

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