I was fascinated by this handle which was on a small standing structure on the grounds of Matsunoo Taisha Shrine in Arashiyama, Kyoto. It was surprisingly small and I loved the care given to the design - those two symmetrical dragon heads and the lovely scales on the main section. I wonder about who designed it and who made it (the same person?), and what considerations where made during the process. Ah, so beautiful... Thank you, whoever you were! (I image it is quite old but, to be honest, I don't really know.)
A combination of rain, humidity, and a heavy work load has meant that I haven't had much of a chance to be out and about. However, there are always photos waiting to be edited and so I've been going through my photos when I have time. Let's see...
This one is from a local Shinto shrine dedicated to Inari, a Shinto god or spirit. In ancient times foxes ("kitsune" in Japanese) and humans lived in close contact with each other and this gave rise to various legends, many of which originated in China.The fox was thought to be very intelligent and to possess supernatural abilities including shapeshifting into human form. In Japan, they are closely associated with Inari and serve as the spirit's messengers. As a result, if you visit an Shinto shrine that is dedicated to Inari (apparently more than 1/3 of all the Shinto shrines in Japan), you will inevitably see statues and images of foxes and the more you look, the more you will find. Some people even offer sacrifices to the "kitsune" messengers as deity because of their potential power and influence.
Me? I just love the varying shapes, sizes and designs that can be found when comparing various "kitsune" and the colour contrasts with the reddish-orange of Shinto shrines. "Kitsune" can range from very small to very large and from very detailed to almost abstract. This particular arrangement was a first as I had never seen so many all lined up in a row - and each was different from the other. There must have been more than 10 lined up on each side. Next time I'll count!
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.