02/01/2017

komainu guardian dogs and lions

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. Shinto Shrines (jinja 神社) - Introduction .
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komainu, koma-inu 狛犬 / 高麗犬 / 胡麻犬 "Korean Dog"
karajishi 唐獅子 "Chinese Lion"
foo dogs, fóshī 佛獅 Foshi




source : askideas.com/22-best-foo-dog-tattoo

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They come in a pair, one with its mouth open, agyoo 阿形;
and one with its mouth closed, ungyoo 吽形, thus representing the beginning (alpha) and end (omega) of all things.
Often a female one has one horn and the male one two.

. Komainu Daijin 狛犬大神 the Komainu Deity .
at 大和神社 Oyamato Shrine, Tenri, Nara

. koma...  狛 other Shrine guardian animals .

. Shiisa シーサー Lion Dogs from Okinawa.



source : facebook
Tokyo Asakusa Sanja Jinja 浅草『三社神社』 

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komainu 狛犬 Lit. Korean dog.
A pair of lion-like guardian figures placed at each side of a shrine or temple entrance; believed to ward off evil spirits.
Thought to have been brought to Japan from China via Korea, their name is derived from Koma 高麗, the Japanese term for the Korean kingdom of Koguryo (Jp: Koukuri 高句麗). In the early Heian period, the two statues were clearly distinguished: the figure on the left, called shishi 獅子 (lion), resembled a lion with its mouth open agyou 阿形; the figure on the right, called komainu 狛犬 (Korean dog), resembled a dog with its mouth closed ungyou 吽形, and sometimes had a horn on its head.

- - - - - Ujigami Jinja Honden 宇治上神社本殿 (Kyoto)

Gradually
the term komainu came to be used for both statues, and their shapes became indistinguishable except for the open and closed mouths a-un 阿吽. In the Heian period komainu were used as weights or door-stops for curtains and screens in the Seiryoden 清涼殿, Kyoto Gosho 京都御所.
Other famous examples include a pair of painted wooden komainu (10-11c) at Yakushiji 薬師寺, Nara;
14 painted and lacquered wooden figures at Itsukushima Jinja 厳島神社 (12-14c) Hiroshima prefecture, and
the stone figures inside the south gate of Todaiji 東大寺, Nara, made by the 12c Chinese sculptor Chinnakei 陳和卿.
- source : JAANUS -

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Literally, "Korean lions," paired figures of lion tutelaries found at the entryway to shrine buildings, or alongside their torii or approachways.
Also written 高麗犬 or 胡麻犬.

Most are made of stone,
although bronze, iron, wood, and ceramic examples can also be found. The paired figures are typically male and female, and in some cases one of the two has horns. In generally, the pairs include one with an open mouth and one with mouth closed, the so-called a-un posture symbolizing the "alpha" and "omega" of the Sanskrit alphabet. In some pairs, however, both are depicted with open mouths. The origin of such tutelary beasts is said to go back to Egypt or India, but the ones transmitted to Japan originated during China's Tang dynasty.

Another style was introduced to Japan from Song China during the Kamakura period, and this style is frequently referred to as kara jishi (Chinese lions). The word "Koma" is an ancient term for the Korean peninsula, but since the images were merely transmitted through the Korean peninsula, it may be that the term Koma inu was merely used to indicate their "foreign" nature.
As tutelaries, the animals are believed to symbolize the eradication of evil and the protection of the area around the kami.
- source : Nakayama Kaoru - Kokugakuin -

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- - - - - Information by Hayato Tokugawa

FOO DOGS Part I
In the West they are often called “Foo Dogs”;
however, they are not dogs, they’re lions! It’s a rather lazy Western contraction of the Chinese words
fóshī (佛獅, Buddha’s or Buddhist lion) or fúshī (福獅, fortuitous lion), although they have many other names in China such as “Auspicious lion” or “guardian lions,”
but most simply they are traditionally known in China as Shi (獅, shī) or “lion.”

Statues of these lions have stood guard over Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, as well as the homes of government officials and wealthy families, ever since the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD) and are honored as having powerful, mythic protective powers. It is not uncommon to see such lions used also as decorative or symbolic motifs in art, not to mention at the entrances to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and other buildings — even parks — one sitting at each side of an entrance. Ah, but they are not just common in China, but also in Japan, Okinawa and as far away as my other home of San Francisco. Indeed, wherever Chinese people have migrated, or Chinese culture has exerted its influence, one is likely to encounter fóshī.
- source : Hayato Tokugawa -

FOO DOGS Part II
Everything you wanted to know about Komainu, foshi, or "foo dogs".
Guardian lions in China are most often set in pairs, consisting of a male lion and a female lion, a representation of yin and yang (the male is yang, the female is yin.) The male rests his paw on an embroidered ball (绣球, xiù qiú), representing supremacy over the world; and the female often has her paw, the one closest to the male, resting (more than likely actually restraining) a cub: a representation of the cycle of life. Tradition says that the female protects those inside the building or place they guard while the male guards the structure or place itself. While the form of the lions was originally quite varied, it has over the centuries become formalized, particularly during the Ming and then the Qing dynasties, into the form we are most familiar with now.

Frequently one is likely to also see pairs of fóshī with the female’s mouth closed and the male’s open — said to be symbolic of the utterance of the sacred word “om.” Other styles of fóshī may have both male and female with opened mouths, each containing a single, large pearl. In the case of many such pairs, the pearl is frequently completely carved so that it is free to roll about in the lion’s mouth, but large enough that it cannot be removed.



Unlike the “guardian lions” one might see in front of a government or public building for example in the UK or in the United States, which are created to give a somewhat lifelike appearance of the animal, Chinese fóshī are carved with the intent of portraying the emotion of the lion as well as its symbolism. In the Chinese lions, the claws, teeth, and eyes represent power while it is rare that musculature is depicted at all; whereas in the English lion, it is its quite stylized with distinct musculature to portray its power.

Correct placement of the fóshī is essential as dictated by the principles of feng shui, ensuring that their beneficial effects are maximized. When, for example, standing in the doorway of a building looking out toward a street, or square, the same direction that the lions gaze at, the male is to be placed on the left and the female on the right; thus, when walking into a building or other place guarded by the lions, the male will be on the right and the female on the left.

One often hears, “But lions only exist in Africa!” Truth be told, Asiatic lions were once quite common in Southwest and Central Asia as well; and with the increase in trade, particularly during the Han dynasty, along the Silk Road, the depiction of lions, as well as their pelts, and even caged animals were introduced into China. Various ambassadors to China from the then “West” are known to have given gifts of live lions as tribute.
- source : Hayato Tokugawa -


FOO DOGS Part III - Japan
In Japan, one is likely to find a myriad of fóshī, only there they are commonly referred to as komainu (狛犬・胡麻犬) and are likely to be found at Shintō shrines, either guarding the entrance or even inside the shrine itself.


(Photographs by Tajimi Jones, also known as Aoi Tokugawa.)

In Japan, one is likely to find a myriad of fóshī, only there they are commonly referred to as komainu (狛犬・胡麻犬) and are likely to be found at Shintō shrines, either guarding the entrance or even inside the shrine itself. And despite the forced attempt to separate Buddhism from Shintō during Meiji, even the denigration of Buddhism at the time, komainu can also be found at Buddhist temples. Try as it might, the government just never quite managed to separate the two. There are two common forms, the jinnai komainu (陣内狛犬) or shrine inside komainu, which is the older of the two forms, and the sandō komainu (参道狛犬) or the “visiting road komainu) which took shape during the Edo period.

The pair of lions are typically identical to each other except that one has an open mouth while the other’s is closed. Tradition holds that the open mouth is pronouncing the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, “a,” while the closed mouth is speaking the last letter, “um,” — a representation of the beginning and end of all things. Combined, they form the sound “Aum,” sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism. That’s not to say that there are not exceptions to this “rule.”
Komainu were “exported” from China to Korea, Japan, and Okinawa; and in Japan proper, they seem to have made their first appearance during the Nara period (710 – 794). They were used exclusively indoors until the 14th century and were then generally made of wood. During the following Heian period (794 – 1185), Komainu were frequently made of metal or stone in addition to wood, and were used as paper weights and doorstops among other things. In the Imperial Palace komainu were frequently used to support fusuma (襖).

It was also during the Heian (the 9th century) that the statues took on their “mouth open - mouth shut” forms we are most familiar with. The lion with the open mouth was called shishi (獅子, lion), while the other, with its mouth closed was called komainu or “koguryo dog” because it looked like…a dog — a chow chow, or a Japanese chin, or a Pekinese! Eventually they were both simply referred to as komainu.

The 14th century saw stone or metal “lion-dogs” moved outdoors in order to utilize its power to ward off evil as the guardians of gates and doors. This applied not just to public or private buildings, but to shrines and temples as well. During the Edo period, komainu were replaced or “assisted” by other creatures such as tigers, dragons and even foxes (Inari shrines) but I have yet to encounter a tanuki as a komainu.

Shinto is very important in the Tajimi area (the regions of Gifu-ken and Aichi-ken) like most of rural Japan. You will find more shrines than you could possibly imagine and just as many (times 2) komainu. These are all made by local craftsmen (first stone cutters, the rest by sculptors and ceramic artists). It could easily take years to visit all the shrines - a pilgrimage in itself.
- source : Hayato Tokugawa -

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A Korean komainu or haechi (age unknown).


We know that lions appeared in Indian temple art and, as early as the third century, showed up in the art of Chinese Buddhism; a symbol of protection of the dharma (the teachings of Buddha). Apparently as time progressed, it was determined that what was good for the Buddha must then also be good for the Emperor; thus, the lions became protectors of the gates and doors of imperial buildings and compounds. Now, the Chinese word for lion is shi 獅 or shishi 獅子; however, another creature that appeared in China at about the same time called the xiezhi, and at some point in time, between the third and seventh centuries, pairs of stone xiezhi made their way to Korea, where the name was pronounced haetae or haechi. The haechi appears very lion-like, but often has a scaly body, a small horn on its head, and sometimes small wings.

By the Nara period (710-794), lion guardians had journeyed to Japan, typically made of wood and intended for indoor use. By the ninth century, the pair came to consist of an open-mouthed lion (shishi 獅子) and one close-mouthed, horn-bearing, dog-like komainu (Korean dog. By the fourteenth century the horn disappeared, (although it does show up from time to time) and both animals of the pair came to be known as komainu, largely carved from stone and used out of doors.
- source : Hayato Tokugawa -


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Pìxiū 貔貅, which is pronounced Hikyū in Japan.
Also known in Chinese as Bìxié 避邪 or Tiān Lù 天禄. Also known in Japanese as Hekija 辟邪 or Tenroku 天禄.
A composite beast of ancient origin, mostly forgotten in Japan, but still popular today in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. The mythological dragon-headed, lion-bodied Pìxiū 貔貅 (also spelled 豼貅) were traditionally depicted in China as a male-female pair, one with a single horn (male, Pì 貔) and the other with two horns (female, Xiū 貅), but in modern times they each commonly appear with only one horn. In ancient China, statues of the two guarded the entrance to the tomb, as they are thought to ward off evil and protect wealth.
In old China, the beasts were also commonly portrayed with hoofs, wings, and tails, and supposedly appeared on the banners of the emperor’s chariots (兵車に立てた旗). In Japan, the Hikyū are largely ignored, having been supplanted by the Koma-inu (magical lion dogs) and Shishi (magical lions), who traditionally stand guard outside the gates of Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. In Japan, effigies of Shishi lions are also commonly used as architectural elements, placed under the eaves of both Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples to ward off evil spirits.
Let us recall that, in China, the Pìxiū also serve this role, and in olden times were commonly displayed on the roof corners of the homes of the emperor and gentry.
- continue reading
- source : Mark Schumacher -


And please check the main page of Mark Schumacher about Komainu


CLICK for more photos !

SHISHI LIONS - SHRINE & TEMPLE GUARDIANS
WITH MAGICAL POWERS TO REPEL EVIL
Jp. = Shishi 獅子 or Kara Shishi 唐獅子, Chn. = Shíshī
Also known as Koma-inu 狛犬 (lion dog) in Japan
- source : Mark Schumacher -

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. - - - - - Komainu Glossary - 用語集 - - - - - .

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- reference : facebook - 狛犬さがし隊 -

- 狛犬とは何か? 100万人の狛犬講座 -

- 分類 different typs of komainu -

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狛犬覚醒
- - reference source : 平井靖久 facebook -


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Two statues by master sculptor 運慶 Unkei (? - 1223)






- look at more Komainu photos at the shrine 地主神社 Jinushi Jinja :
- reference source : jishujinja.or.jp/kigan -

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- Reference : 狛犬
- Reference : komainu



狛犬切手 Komainu Stamp - from 香取神宮 Katori Jingu
編集長の狛犬日記 - very informative !
- reference source : www15.plala.or.jp/timebox/top/08nikki -


. Shrine, Shinto Shrine (jinja 神社) - Introduction .

. kami 神 Shinto deities - ABC-LIST - .

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- - - - -  H A I K U  - - - - -



in the limelight
for two seconds -
photographer's luck!


. Shrine Ichi no Miya, Wadakita, Ohaga .
Gabi Greve at 和田北 一宮神社, my local shrine

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狛犬の片足折れぬ神の留守
komainu no ashi orenu kami no rusu

正岡子規 Masaoka Shiki

山法師狛犬古りし結願寺 我部敬子
市神の狛犬に角木下闇 田中英子
春の狛犬にさはりたがりしかな 夏井いつき
柿の浮力狛犬いちにち足そろふ 磯貝碧蹄館

狛犬にそびらの虚空のぞかるる 林田紀音夫
狛犬にテント結はへしラムネ売り 森重夫(万象)
狛犬に乳房が六つ山眠る 仙 とよえ
狛犬に木三本づつの雪囲ひ 川崎展宏
狛犬に犬を預けて盆踊 平上昌子

狛犬の仔は石気取り松の花 加藤あきと
狛犬の光る眼と合ひ初不動 室田東洋女
狛犬の口に溜まりし寒の雨 岡田久慧
狛犬の口の中なる蝉の殻 國守セツ
狛犬の口の奥まで残暑かな 渡辺初雄
狛犬の口より出でし石竜かな 巌谷小波
狛犬の台座もろとも苔の花 小野寺順子
狛犬の吽の口あく木下闇 友塚紀美恵
狛犬の渦のたてがみ青あらし 清水 白郎
狛犬の爪に立てかけ青写真 武田無涯子
狛犬の玉を踏みたる薄暑光 長谷川久々子
狛犬の相寄らぬまゝ冬の暮 川崎展宏
狛犬の走つてゆけり青嵐 小島健 木の実
狛犬の金歯赫々木下闇 河野静雲 閻魔
狛犬の金目うつろや神無月 仲澤輝子
狛犬の阿の口子蜘蛛出るわ出るわ 松山足羽
狛犬の阿吽を抜ける西東忌 森田智子
狛犬の頭に苔知恵の文殊堂 八木三日女
狛犬の首に真青な注連飾 藤本安騎生

狛犬は網かぶせられゐて灼くる 頼経嘉子
狛犬もよそよそしかりみな猛暑 丸山佳子
狛犬も邪鬼と睦むや雪囲して 文挟夫佐恵
狛犬や碓氷の神のしぐれける 川崎展宏
狛犬を葭簀の中に年の市 青邨

狼の眼の狛犬や山始 鳥居雨路子
秋風や狛犬白き美保神社 板谷芳浄
金襴を纒ふ狛犬初戎 野村浩之

- reference source : cgi-bin/HAIKUreikuDB -

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. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .

In 1854, during a fire at the palace, the 獅子狛犬 Lions Dogs from the 清涼殿 Seiryoden Palace were brought to the home of the honorable 一条家 Ichijo Family for safekeeping by a high-ranking official working at the Seiryoden. Later they tried to find this man, but were told such an official does not exist. They said it must have been the spirit of the Komainu.


source : 15.plala.or.jp/timebox/top/05komamori/75/seiryoden

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. Gifu 岐阜県

At 白川村 Shirakawa village there was a wolf who had eaten the bones of a human and they gut stuck in his throat. The villagers helped him when they found him sitting and suffering in the compound of 八幡様 Hachiman Shrine. And the Deity promised to help the villagers from now on. So they changed the Komainu at the shrine and installed statues of wolves.


- and found by chance, two Komainu from Gifu, Hida


和良村の歴史資料官に
source : hidasaihakken.hida-ch.com

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. Iwate 岩手県

The authorities of 胆沢 Isawa ordered the Komainu in the park to be burried in the ground.
But after that, a lot of strange bad things happened in the village, as a curse of the Komainu.

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. Okayama 岡山県

. Kibitsu Komainu 吉備津狛犬 from the shrine Kibitsu Hiko Jinja 吉備津彦神社 .

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. Yamanashi 山梨県

Once the八幡さんの獅子 Lion Dogs from Hachiman Shrine were stolen.
But the home of the thief was soon befallen with diseases, fire and other disasters. So they all pledged to bring the Komainu back to the shrine and tried to pull them along with a horse. But the horse could not move, they were too heavy.
Then a man took one on his back - and what do you say - it was so light, he could carry it with no problem.

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- reference : nichibun yokai database -

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