Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺, “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”)

Temple of Golden Pavilion Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto
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Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Golden_pavilion,_Kinkakuji.jpg
Image Author: Ondraness
Date: 9 September 2019

Title of work: Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺, “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”)
Location: Kyoto, Japan (Rokuon-ji temple complex)
Date of Completion: Est. 1397, reconstructed 1955


Description:
Kinkaku-ji is located on the Rokuon-ji temple complex. This Japanese Buddhist temple exhibits the Setchūyō architectural style used to design Japanese Buddhist temples. Setchūyō emerged in Japan during the Muromachi period, characterized by the fusion of elements from preceding styles. Buddhist temples in Japan follow a general structure of columns and lintels that support a large and gently curved roof. Kinkaku-ji is known for its gold leaf exteriors of the upper two floors. In Pure Land Buddhism gold represents spiritual purity which is reflected through the structure. Each level of the temple incorporates a different style of architecture. Shiden style is displayed on the first floor, an open space decorated with natural wood pillars and white plaster. This floor emphasises the surrounding landscape and garden design. The second floor of the temple embodies the style used in samurai residences. Paintings of birds, clouds, and instruments cover the ceilings and walls. The third and final floor is built in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall, with lavish decoration. The sacred relics of the Buddha are kept in this sacred space. A large thatched pyramid roof covers the structure. The temple is topped with a bronze phoenix ornament.

Author: Natalie Solari

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