Saturday, January 15, 2022

Tōrō (灯籠 / 灯篭, 灯楼, light basket, light tower) is a traditional Japanese lantern


Japanese Lanterns are interesting. A Shinto Japanese Shrine Lantern in Japan is fascinating. In Japan, a tōrō (灯籠 / 灯篭, 灯楼, light basket, light tower) is really a traditional lantern made of stone, wood, or metal. Like many other elements of Japanese traditional architecture, it originated in China where they can still be found in Buddhist temples and Chinese gardens. They are not as common in Korea and Vietnam as they are in China or Japan. In Japan, tōrō were originally used only in certain Buddhist temples, where they lined and illuminated paths. Lit lanterns were then considered an offering to so-called Buddha. Their use in Shinto shrines and also private homes started during the Heian period (794-1185).

The oldest so-called extant bronze and stone lanterns can be found in Nara. Taima-dera has a stone lantern built during the Nara period, while Kasuga-taisha has one of the following Heian period. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600) stone lanterns were popularized by tea masters, who used them as garden ornaments. Soon they started to develop new types according to the need. In modern gardens they have a purely ornamental function and are laid along paths, near water, or next to a certain building.

"Extant" meaning is (especially of a document) still in existence; surviving. For example, "the original manuscript is no longer extant."

Tōrō can really be classified in 2 main types, the tsuri-dōrō (釣灯籠・掻灯・吊り灯籠, lit. hanging lamp), which usually hang from the eaves of a roof, and the dai-dōrō (台灯籠, lit. platform lamp) used in gardens and along the approach (sandō) of a shrine or temple. The 2 most common types of dai-dōrō are the bronze lantern and the stone lantern, which look like hanging lanterns laid to rest on a pedestal.

In its complete, original form (some of its elements may be either missing or additions), like the gorintō and the pagoda, the dai-dōrō represents the 5 elements of Buddhist cosmology. The bottom-most piece, touching the ground, represents chi, the earth; the next section represents sui, or water; ka or fire, is represented by the section encasing the lantern's light or flame, while fū (air) and kū (void or spirit) are represented by the last 2 certain sections, top-most and pointing towards the sky. The segments express the idea that after death our physical bodies will go back to their original, so-called elemental form.






五輪塔や塔のように、完全なオリジナルの形(要素の一部が欠落しているか追加されている可能性があります)では、大道は仏教の宇宙論の5つの要素を表しています。地面に触れている一番下の部分は、地球であるカイを表しています。次のセクションは、水、または水を表します。 kaまたはfireは、ランタンの光または炎を包むセクションで表され、fū(空気)およびkū(ボイドまたはスピリット)は、最後の2つの特定のセクションで表され、最上部で空を指します。セグメントは、死後、私たちの肉体が元の、いわゆる元素の形に戻るという考えを表現しています。

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