Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Precedent for The Gates?

Walking around Central Park last night, I finally realized what The Gates reminds me of. Just outside Kyoto, there's a Shinto shrine (Shinto is the native Japanese religion, it coexists with Buddhism) called Fushimi Inari Taisha, where it's been a tradition for centuries to donate a gate (called a torii) to the shrine in thanks for good fortune. The bright vermillion
gates are set up along paths that wind up and down a hillside behind theshrine itself. The effect is very dramatic, and in many ways strikingly similar to The Gates, minus the fabric, anyway.

See this link to for a description and some photos of Fushimi Inari Taisha. This blog entry has some great photos too. I wonder if Christo and Jeanne-Claude have ever been there...



Blogger Harvey said...

Interesting note on the torii (or whatever the plural of that word would be in the English language). Some of those pictures that you linked to are, indeed, evocative of The Gates at Central Park (or I guess it would be more accurate to say that it is The Gates that are doing the evoking); although, of course, The Gates will look strikingly distinctive once the curtains are unfurled on Saturday.

You can find one, but only one, torii much closer to home; it can be found in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and it looks like this:


It's located in the pond of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Because there's only one, and it's in the water (so you can't even walk through that one), it's devoid of the tunnel-like effect that comes from walking through a series of gates on a pathway.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Todd W. said...

I'd say chances are very good that Christo is familiar with this place in Japan... Ecclesiastes 1:9.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

You're absolutely right. I still recall how gogeous that Inari shrine was on New Year's 1986, with hundreds of women in their best kimonos climbing the hill through the sacred gates.

I'm trying to remember if it was only Inari shrines that favored that orange color (a Chinese thing originally, the color of good fortune). I'm quite sure Christo is familiar with torii, in any case.

4:05 PM  

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