Thursday, December 23, 2010

Massive Paper Lantern

When last in Tokyo I visited Sensō-ji for a second time. As you enter the temple the first sight you encounter is the Kaminarimon or "Thunder Gate." Dominating the gate entrance is this much-photographed giant paper lantern flanked by two statues of the guardian gods Raijin (thunder) and Fujin (wind). First built in 942, the gate has been destroyed numerous times and the current incarnation dates to 1950. The lantern is dramatically painted in vivid red-and-black tones to suggest thunderclouds and lightning; the wood carving at its base is about 3 feet across.

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