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  • Thumbnail for Rope-pullers, ratha procession
    Rope-pullers, ratha procession

    Rope-pullers; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 1982; Keywords: devotees, ratha, procession

  • Thumbnail for Sundaresvara
    Sundaresvara

    Sundaresvara, during Minaksi digvijaya; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 1984; Keywords: sundaresvara, digvijaya

  • Thumbnail for Site-pacification
    Site-pacification

    Brahmin assistant drags burning bundle into street, to pacify or purify Avani Mula Street, during vithi-vastusanti ceremony.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Leaving Putu-mandapa at east entrance, onto East Avani Mula Street. Bundle made of samittu: dry sticks of margosa, araca tree, and other kinds of light wood.; Keywords: priests, santi

  • Thumbnail for Jnanasambandar
    Jnanasambandar

    Jnanasambandar image, before 6th evening procession. On the 6th evening, the great Tamil devotees (nayanmar) of Siva are recognized.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; East Adi Street, near elephant stables; Keywords: nayanmars

  • Thumbnail for Sundaresvara on Kalpataru vehicle
    Sundaresvara on Kalpataru vehicle

    Siva Sundaresvara mounted on Kalpataru (wish-granting tree) vehicle, awaiting 1st procession; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; 1st evening procession; Keywords: sundaresvara, vehicles, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Oil-rag lamps
    Oil-rag lamps

    Oil-rag lamps held during street site-pacification (vithi- vastusanti), a necessary purifying rite before festival processions.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: personnel

  • Thumbnail for Minaksi Wedding
    Minaksi Wedding

    Minaksi's Marriage (tirukalyana) sculpture, depicting Visnu, Minaksi, and Siva Sundaresvara, in Puthu-mandapa. Mid-seventeenth century.; Minaksi temple; Putu-mandapa; Keywords: deities, minaksi, mandapas

  • Thumbnail for Minaksi
    Minaksi

    Three-breasted Minaksi Statue, in Puthu-mandapa. Constructed in the mid-seventeenth century, during the reign of Tirumalai Nayakkar.; Minaksi temple; Putu-mandapa, SE corner; Keywords: deities, minaksi, mandapas

  • Thumbnail for Sirpathis
    Sirpathis

    Sirpathis carry pole supporing icon; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 2004; Preparation for 1st evening procession. 42 Sirpathis (non-brahmins, not directly temple employees).; Keywords: personnel, sirpathis

  • Thumbnail for Three priests
    Three priests

    Three priests in front of Sundaresvara image; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 2004; C. Muttapatter Sivaraja, on right, does image decoration.; Keywords: personnel, priests

  • Thumbnail for Blessing of drum
    Blessing of drum

    Chief priest blesses drum, during site-pacification ceremony; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: priests, personnel, musicians

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 024, five-story pagoda, ground story and detail of bracketing
    Muroji, 024, five-story pagoda, ground story and detail of bracketing

    This slide of the pagoda at Muroji was taken in the spring, 1998, before the typhoon damage of September 22, 1998, and the subsequent restoration work on the pagoda. The slide shows the first story of the five-story pagoda, which is only 8 feet square. Also shown is the detail of some of the bracketing that was used in Buddhist pagodas and other temple buildings. The bracketing is perhaps less important here, structurally, than in other temple compounds, because the roofs here, at Muroji, are covered with cedar bark, rather than the very heavy tile of other temples.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 031, gravestones to the side of the stairs leading to the Hall of Eternal Light (Hall for Memorial Tablets)
    Muroji, 031, gravestones to the side of the stairs leading to the Hall of Eternal Light (Hall for Memorial Tablets)

    Perhaps one hundred yards to the left and behind the pagoda, one begins a steep ascent up the side of the mountain to the Hall of Eternal Light. The stone steps lead one up the side of the hill in almost a straight line, going up the side of the hill for perhaps a quarter of a mile. At one point, off to the side of the stairs leading up the mountainside, one sees this short set of stone steps leading up to a niche carved out of the hill, where there is this small group of memorial stones.

  • Thumbnail for Subrahmanya of Tirupparankundram
    Subrahmanya of Tirupparankundram

    Subrahmanya of Tirupparankundram, decorated for 8th evening procession. The Subrahmanyam image has also come from its home temple, on the outskirts of greater Madurai, to take part in the festival.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: subrahmanya, decoration, tirupparankundram

  • Thumbnail for Priests afix Sundaresvara on Golden Horse vehicle
    Priests afix Sundaresvara on Golden Horse vehicle

    Priests place prabha (ornamental arch) over Siva Sundaresvara on Golden Horse vehicle, completing decorations for processio; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: sundaresvara, vehicles, priests, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Minaksi decorated, rear view
    Minaksi decorated, rear view

    Minaksi decorated for 6th morning procession, rear view. Her hair ornament is part of her special decoration for this day's procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; in Gold Capparam; shows (jatai alankara) special decoration of pinnal (hair braid); Keywords: minaksi, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Sundaresvara decorated
    Sundaresvara decorated

    Siva Sundaresvara decorated for 6th morning procession, in Kalyana-mandapa.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; photo by natural light, in Kalyana-mandapa before start of procession; Keywords: sundaresvara, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Worship of Planets
    Worship of Planets

    Worshipers at small shrine of Nine Planets, in Kambattadi Mandapa to east of Sundaresvara shrine.; Minaksi temple; small shrine in mandapa to northeast of Sundaresvara shrine; Keywords: deities, planets, devotees

  • Thumbnail for Yali vehicle, with Minaksi
    Yali vehicle, with Minaksi

    Yali vehicle, with Minaksi, on 5th evening procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; 5th evening procession, S. Avani Mula Street; Keywords: minaksi, vehicles, processions

  • Thumbnail for Minaksi on Kamadhenu vehicle
    Minaksi on Kamadhenu vehicle

    Minaksi on Kamadhenu vehicle, 3rd evening procession; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; 3rd evening procession; Keywords: minaksi, vehicles, processions

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 032, Hall for Memorial Tablets, viewed from mountain path
    Muroji, 032, Hall for Memorial Tablets, viewed from mountain path

    The entrance to the Hall for Memorial Tablets, at Muroji is on ground level of a small level area. Most of the hall, however, is built out over the steep hillside, supported on scaffolding, as shown in this image taken from the stone stairs as one approaches the small plateau.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 029t, view up the steps to the Okunoin, the  inner sanctuary
    Muroji, 029t, view up the steps to the Okunoin, the inner sanctuary

    This is a view of the path, the steps leading up the mountainside at Muroji to the Hall of Eternal Light, also called the Hall for Memorial Tablets. It is a very steep and long climb, consisting of 400 steps built in the 1860's. It also is a beautiful walk up the mountainside, as the steps pass through a quiet forest of giant crytomeria trees. As suggested in the description of the kondo, with its placement in a "natural" wooded site, the presence of nature at Muroji is important and points to a change in the role of nature in relation to Buddhism in Japan, compared, e.g., to the role of setting at earlier temples such as Horyuji. This use of natural setting at Muroji is, of course, consistent with the central awareness of nature in traditional Japanese culture and aesthetic values. The construction of Muroji in the forest no doubt reflects also the intent to remove the temple to the quiet of the mountain site, away from the political environment of the capital.

  • Thumbnail for Great Buddha statue at Kamakura
    Great Buddha statue at Kamakura

    The Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kamakura, a representation of Amida Buddha, was cast in 1252. The wooden building that surrounded it was swept away by a tidal wave, but the figure of the Buddha was unharmed and it has withstood repeated earthquakes, fires, and other calamities. It is 13.5 m (about 44 feet) high, making it the second largest statue of the Buddha in Japan, after the Daibutsu of Todaiji, Nara. Built without imperial or shogunal support, completed entirely with donations from the faithful, it is all the more impressive in its heroic scale.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo statues at a temple in Kamakura
    Jizo statues at a temple in Kamakura

    A Jizo is a Buddhist bodhisattva (bosatsu) who is the guardian of the souls of children who have died, as young children or in birth. Persons wishing to offer a prayer for the care of a child often bring a bib or apron or cap to dress one of the Jizo statues, as they ask that it care for the soul of the child in their prayers. These rows of Jizo figures are at the temple, Hasedera, where there is a hall dedicated to Jizo.

  • Thumbnail for Great Buddha sculpture at Kamakura, interior view
    Great Buddha sculpture at Kamakura, interior view

    This rather unusual image is a view of the inside of the sculpture of the Great Buddha at Kamakura, taken half way up the stairs inside the figure, looking up into the head of the figure. The dark circles visible inside the head are the coils of hair of the figure. -- Aside from the remarkable scale of the sculpture, which one senses powerfully as one climbs the stairs inside of the sculpture, the striking feature of this photograph is probably the illustration of the manner in which the sculpture was made, fabricated. It appears that it was cast in sections or plates, which were then assembled to create the finished sculpture (look at the outside of the sculpture in the image, ecasia000062). Also of very particular interest here are "brown" elements on the neck and upper torso of the figure. During the great Tokyo earthquake, the head of the sculpture separated from the rest of the figure and ended up in the lap of the figure. It was mounted back in position but, by the late 1940's or early 1950's, stress cracks had begun to appear in the neck. The brown elements visible here are strips of an early plastic compound that were places on the interior of the neck at that time to attempt to reinforce the structure; there was some doubt that the plastic would prove adequate or that it would retain its strength but, obviously, it has served well. (information re: the reinforcement, thanks to Tokyo metalsmith and sculptor, Kosugi Takuya, former metals professor at the National University for the Arts in Tokyo)