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  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 030, Jizo statue from Muroji
    Muroji, 030, Jizo statue from Muroji

    Along the side of the steps up the side of the mountain, one sees this Jizo figure. The Jizo is a spirit that cares for the souls of children who have died and the Jizo statues are very common throughout Japan, especially in temple compounds. The offerings left with this Jizo are interesting and mildly humorous, since the offerings include a container of "One Cup Ozeki," a brand of sake that can be purchased from vending machines. Also interesting are the branches in the vases, which appear to be branches of sakaki, a plant usually associated with Shinto, although there frequently are "cross-overs" between Buddhist and Shinto practices in Japan. (Sake, likewise, is usually associated with the Shinto offerings of sake, salt, and rice, associated with purification, as seen in images from the Hachiman Shrine in Morioka.) Some excellent information in these areas may be found in the Colorado College collection dealing with Japanese religion, materials contributed by Professor David Gardiner.

  • Thumbnail for Todaiji, Nandaimon, the Great South Gate, Nara
    Todaiji, Nandaimon, the Great South Gate, Nara

    This is a photograph of the Nandaimon, the Great South Gate, at Todaiji in Nara. Taken in early December, with mist and fog in the chilly late afternoon air, it conveys a sense of mood of time and place. It was taken from inside the outer precinct of the temple, looking out through the gate - i.e., this is the gate viewed from inside the temple compound. -- In retaliation for support of the Minamoto clan by armed monks from Todaiji, at the end of the Genpei civil war, the Taira clan burned the compound at Todaiji to the ground in 1180. When the Minamoto emerged victorious, they vowed to rebuild the Todaiji compound and did so by the end of the 12th century. -- The other buildings in the Todaiji compound have been damaged by fire or earthquakes over the centuries and most have been rebuilt in different styles. The Nandaimon, the Great South Gate, alone, remains in its original form, that which was built in the late 12th century.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 011, Mirokudo, exterior, seen from porch of the kondo
    Muroji, 011, Mirokudo, exterior, seen from porch of the kondo

    This is the Mirokudo, the Miroku Hall, also called the Maitreya Hall, at Muroji, as seen from the veranda of the kondo. The Mirokudo is a smaller hall, and later in date than the kondo, having been moved to this site from Kofukuji during the Kamakura period. It contains a main center altar and two smaller side altars. The center altar, as seen in the next image, ecasia000012, is devoted to a figure of the Miroku Bosatsu, and one of the side altars, image ecasia000013, holds the wooden carved sculpture of the Seated Shaka, an exceptional example of ninth century (early Heian) sculpture.

  • Thumbnail for Byodoin, Hoodo, the Phoenix Hall, at Uji
    Byodoin, Hoodo, the Phoenix Hall, at Uji

    The so-called Phoenix Hall at the temple, Byodoin, in Uji. Built in 1053 by Fujiwara Yorimichi, the Phoenix Hall contains the Amida sculpture carved by Jocho, and the compound attempts to represent on earth the western paradise of Pure Land Buddhism. This image shows the Amida Hall as seen from directly across the pond directly in front of the hall. Because of the placement of the pond, the hall cannot be approached directly from the front, perhaps a physical assertion of the Heian aesthetic preference for indirection.

  • Thumbnail for Magazines in bookstore section of a super-store
    Magazines in bookstore section of a super-store

    This section of the magazine rack in a new super-store features offerings for female adolescents. Interestingly, a number of the titles are in English, including magazines titled, Wink Up, Kitty Goods, and Ego system. The color schemes employed in the magazine covers are interesting, also, as reflections of colors seen elsewhere in contemporary Japanese culture.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 035, Hall for Memorial Tablets, view from the porch at side of Hall
    Muroji, 035, Hall for Memorial Tablets, view from the porch at side of Hall

    This is a view looking down the mountain path from the porch of the Hall of Eternal Light. The image conveys a sense of the quiet beauty of the temple's isolated location in a crytomeria forest, in the mountains of Nara Prefecture, southeast of Nara City.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 010,  kondo, central altar sculpture, Standing Shaka
    Muroji, 010, kondo, central altar sculpture, Standing Shaka

    The interior of the kondo, the Golden Hall, at Muroji includes a central area surrounded all around by a corridor. The central area, called the moya, contains an altar with five standing statues. In front of the altar figures are smaller carvings of the twelve generals, attendants of the Yakushi Buddha. The statue shown in this image is the central figure on the altar and represents the Shaka or the Yakushi Buddha. The figure, a large wooden sculpture (perhaps 7 1/2 feet tal), l is an outstanding example of early Heian sculpture, from the mid-ninth century, with traits such as the fullness of the cheeks, the separate coils of the curls in the hair, the sharp division of chest and abdomen, the use of many repeated parallel folds in the carving of the robe, and the overall solemnity of expression. Also noteworthy here is the painted aureole behind the Shaka, which is well preserved and presents images of the seven Buddhas of the past and present world cycles.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 002, relief carving of Miroku Buddha on bluff above the Muro River, detail
    Muroji, 002, relief carving of Miroku Buddha on bluff above the Muro River, detail

    This enlarged version of part of the image in file no. ecasia000001.jpg shows some of the lines engraved in the stone to depict an image of the Miroku Buddha. Again, the carving dates from 1207 or 1208, and is along the bank of the Muro River, along the approach to Muroji. The pattern of parallel curved lines in the image is stylistically interesting and might be compared with the linear pattern of the robe folds in the sculpture that is the central image in the kondo at Muroji, a sculpture that dates from the Heian period (image I.D. ecasia000007.jpg) or with the sculpture of the seated Shaka (ecasia000012.jpg), from the Mirokudo, Muroji, which dates from early Heian period.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 017, Kanjodo,  Main Hall, view in front
    Muroji, 017, Kanjodo, Main Hall, view in front

    This image shows a small rectangular pool, surrounded by a stone fence, and the front façade of the Main Hall, sometimes referred to as the Initiation hall, beyond it. Both are located on a level area on the side of the hill, up a short flight of stone steps from the level of the kondo. The Kanjodo is used for initiation rites in Esoteric Buddhism. Muroji is associated with Shingon, the esoteric sect founded by the priest Kukai in the 8th century, upon his return from study in China. Shingon is the sect known as the "True Word" sect and is rooted in Tantric Buddhism. Kukai is often referred to by his posthumous name, Kobo Daishi, "Great National Teacher."

  • Thumbnail for Motsuji, pond garden, Hiraizumi, view 2
    Motsuji, pond garden, Hiraizumi, view 2

    View across the pond of the garden at the site of the Heian temple at Hiraizumi, Motsuji. All that remains of the original temple at Motsuji are its foundation stones, but the pond is essentially as it was when built. During the last half of the 20th c., centuries of silt build-up were removed from the pond and from the stream bed feeding the pond, returning the pond to its original form. This view is from the northeastern bank of the pond, looking to the east. Recent research suggests that the stones that are layered along the bank of the pond here were brought a great distance to be placed here, perhaps from the shore of the Inland Sea.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 037, below Chongqing
    Thorp Collection 037, below Chongqing

    Below Chongqing. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 025, Guizhou-Sichuan border
    Thorp Collection 025, Guizhou-Sichuan border

    Guizhou-Sichuan border. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 020, five-story pagoda, view of Pagoda from side porch of Kanjodo
    Muroji, 020, five-story pagoda, view of Pagoda from side porch of Kanjodo

    Standing on the veranda on the left side of the Initiation Hall, looking up, back, and to the left of the Initiation Hall, one sees the five-story pagoda that rises through the trees behind the Initiation Hall. This image gives a clear sense of the location of the pagoda in relation to the Initiation Hall and also a clear indication of the lack of symmetry of the positioning of the various elements of the compound at Muroji.

  • Thumbnail for Motsuji, pond garden, Hiraizumi, view 4
    Motsuji, pond garden, Hiraizumi, view 4

    View across the pond of the garden at the site of the Heian temple at Hiraizumi, Motsuji This view is from the north side of the pond, looking south across the pond. Across the pond, on the south side, is the group of rocks seen in view 1., including the small island with its strong vertical rock element.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 003, Throne Room section - Forbidden City from the air, Beijing
    Thorp Collection 003, Throne Room section - Forbidden City from the air, Beijing

    This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Daisenin garden, view 02, east garden from corridor
  • Thumbnail for Tamba pottery, view 02., pots in a shop window
    Tamba pottery, view 02., pots in a shop window

    A group of pots in a shop window show the strong traditional form of Tamba jars. Traditionally made as storage jars, the thick rim allowed a cord to be tied securely around the neck of the jar, to hold a cloth in place to close the mouth of the jar. These bold, simple forms were the result of a direct vocabulary of form handed down through generations of potters over the centuries. The forms were often left totally unglazed and the decoration of the surface would come from the action of the fire and the depositing of ash on the surface, forming a natural glaze, as is the case on the second jar from the left in this photo. The two jars on the right probably had an ash glaze poured on them before they were placed in the kiln and the contrast of the runny dark green ash glaze against the dark iron red of the unglazed clay surfaces creates a dynamic pattern. The two pieces on the right have lugs ("loops" of clay) on their shoulders; originally such lugs were made to allow a lid to be

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 029, wedding procession, bridge, Sichuan
    Thorp Collection 029, wedding procession, bridge, Sichuan

    Wedding procession, bridge, Sichuan. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 038, intake for irrigation system.  (View of the "Elephant Trunk") Guanxian, Sichuan
    Thorp Collection 038, intake for irrigation system. (View of the "Elephant Trunk") Guanxian, Sichuan

    Intake for irrigation system. (View of the "Elephant Trunk") Guanxian, Sichuan. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Daisenin garden, view 10, north garden, looking to east
  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 050, Houseboats - Wanchin.
    Thorp Collection 050, Houseboats - Wanchin.

    Thorp Collection, Houseboats - Wanchin. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 033, brown soil between limestone rocks, S. Sichuan
    Thorp Collection 033, brown soil between limestone rocks, S. Sichuan

    Brown soil between limestone rocks, S. Sichuan. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Tamba pottery, view 10., view from interior of Ichino workshop, looking out at kiln
    Tamba pottery, view 10., view from interior of Ichino workshop, looking out at kiln

    View from the interior of the Ichino workshop, with standard production work on the shelves in the foreground and the kiln in the background. Potters will be interested to note the angle of the incline on which the kiln is built. There is no chimney on this kiln. The end wall of the last chamber at the top of the kiln has holes in it to function as exit flues for the smoke and gases of the firing but, again, no chimney. Because of the slope of the incline, the kiln, itself, functions as a chimney, pulling the draft to burn the wood.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 032, waterfall, Chongqing-Chengdu
    Thorp Collection 032, waterfall, Chongqing-Chengdu

    Waterfall, Chongqing-Chengdu. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Daisenin garden, view 06, detail, east garden, mountain group next to windowed corridor