Kinkakuji
US $338
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Kinkakuji - Golden Temple
Papers – Metallic, Fabriano, Washi, card
Framed size 640 x 450 mm
What is it?
Kinkaku-ji meaning "Temple of the Golden Pavilion", (officially Rokuon-ji "Deer Garden Temple"), is a Zen Buddhist temple in KyotoJapan. It is designated as a National Special Historic Site, a National Special Landscape and is a World Heritage Site.
History
The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa belonging to a powerful statesman, and dates to 1397, when it became the property of the shogun. 
The shogun incorporated various Chinese motifs into the pavilion and garden. He intended to cover the exterior with gold, but it was only partly covered before his death. He lived here in luxury as Kyoto's people suffered the effects of severe famine, earthquakes and plague - as many as 1,000 people died each day during this period.
When the shogun died the building was converted into a Rinzai Zen temple called Rokuonji by his son, as per  his wishes.
In 1950 the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk who was mentally ill. The present pavilion structure dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt as a copy of the original. Between 1984 and 1987 the Japanese lacquer and gold leaf was reapplied.
Architecture
The pavilion incorporates three styles of architecture on the three floors.
The ground floor is built in the shinden residential style of the 11th century Heian imperial aristocracy. It is an open space with verandas and uses natural unpainted materials. Most of the walls are made of shutters that can vary the view of the garden.
The first floor is built in the samurai style where sliding wood doors and latticed windows create a feeling of impermanence. 
The second floor is built in traditional Chinese chán (Zen) style. The building is topped with a bronze phoenix ornament.  
The Garden
The Golden Pavilion is set in a Japanese strolling garden where the rock composition; the bridges and plants are arranged in a specific way to represent famous places in Chinese and Japanese literature. Vantage points and focal points were carefully selected. The design intends to illustrate a harmony between heaven and earth. 
The largest islet  represents Japan and four stones in a line represent sailboats anchored at night, bound for the Isle of Eternal Life in Chinese mythology.
Fun Facts
  • Kinkakuji is highly valuable because it is a shariden, housing relics of the Buddha.
  • Gold was used in the pavilion because it was intended to mitigate and purify any pollution or negative thoughts and feelings towards death. 
  • The garden is designed as a miniature version of a larger landscape, typical of Japanese gardens.


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