Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Fish on the Roof

 Having already seen some traditional buildings in (Dazaifu) Japan with ornamental rooftop decoration, it didn't at all surprise me to see mythical ceramic elements at the palace in Kumumato. This creature is known as a Sachihoko, with the body of a carp and head of a tiger. According to Japanese folklore, this the Sachihoko could cause the rain to fall. With fire being a constant danger for such wooden structures, the rain-inducing Sachihoko were believed to provide needed protection.

The placement of the Shachihoko on palace tiles reminded me of the dragons and dolkkaebi on Korean palaces, such as at Gyeongbukgung Palace in Seoul.

Dragon at Gyeongbukgung Palace
Dolkkaebi tile at Seonamsa Buddhist Temple

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