I confess: I am addicted of staring at Onigawaras!


On my first visit to Asia – actually to China – the memories of all the different creatures on the roofs stayed with me and I remember staring up every roof in the Forbidden City in Beijing. Since then I tend to admire the wonderful Onigawara I can find in China, Korea or then in Japan. In case you have never heard of Onigawara (鬼瓦), these ogres working as protective roof ornamentation quite often found on old Japanese buildings. According to Wikipedia they are generally roof tiles or statues depicting a Japanese ogre (oni) or a fearsome beast. While the creations outside of Japan might be perceived as much simpler, I believe they show the same charm. Notice below some ogres in Seoul, Korea:

Although I am constantly trying to avoid taking solely pictures of these wonderful protective creatures, on every trip I end up with a few shots. For example notice the beautiful dragon on a roof on a temple in Hiroshima (the sole temple surviving the bombing of Hiroshima).

Then not to far from Hiroshima another wonderful example beside on a shrine roof beside the Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima).

A rather large golden example on the Nagoya castle!

The most recent photo example from Kurashiki, an old Edo town spared all the WII bombings.

Or then a final example on a temple roof near Soya in Okayama: Yes, I confess I am a true Onigawara otaku.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

2 thoughts on “I confess: I am addicted of staring at Onigawaras!

  1. Nice piece. Thank you for this. I’m looking at a little kawara right now, in my living room, bought in Kyoto. Nothing fancy, mind you and not an Onigawara.

    Don’t forget the “tiger dolphins” (kinshachi 金鯱) atop Himeji-jo — watery beasts meant to protect Japan’s most iconic castle safe from the “f” word. I’m superstitious enough not to say the word. Pic (of mine) of the Himeji-jo kinshachi:

    R

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