Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gold and Silver in Kyoto

Gold and silver have not lost luster. From ancient times, Egyptians elevated gold as divine. The book of Genesis mentioned these precious metals. Alchemists spent lifetimes to conjure them.

In modern times, they are coveted during competitions when the winner gets the gold and the runner-up garners silver (we thank the 1904 Olympics for starting this tradition).

In Japan, specifically in the prefecture of Kyoto, gold and silver may refer to two important temples, each with a storied past and a breathtaking presence.

GOLD is Kinkakuji

Camera: Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/100s, f/8, 25mm, ISO 100

Kinkakuji or the Golden Pavilion is a perfect example of a Zen temple on a pond amidst a classical Japanese garden setting. The original structure was built in 1397 as a residence of a shogun and converted into a temple after his death. It is covered with real gold leaf so the glitter is really gold. The current structure is however a replica as it was burnt by a fanatical monk in 1950.

SILVER is Ginkakuji

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/6.3, 18mm, ISO 100, +1/3EV

Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion, is the accompanying foil of the Golden Pavilion. Formally known as Tozan Jishoji, it is famous for its contemplative sand garden. The shogun who built this originally planned to cover the villa with silver, hence its name. But the plan never materialized. The name, however, has stuck.

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oweynge said...

we went there last november, the ginkakuji was under restoration. I wonder if they will be covering it in silver :D

Farl said...

oweynge- with or without the silver, the temple is stunning. wish I can visit Kyoto again in the future.