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21: religious works of art

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21: religious works of art - the auroran sunset

Here at abelard.org, we take a lot of photographs. Many of them are pretty or interesting. This is the twenty-first in a regular “photograph with little or no explanation or comment” feature.

I have never been much interested in religion, but I have always liked to visit and look around temples, shrines, churches, cathedrals, graveyards and the like. In such places you can see some of the most impressive and beautiful art and architecture around.

Here are a few examples from France and Japan - both are places where you can find religious art in almost any town or village.

First an example of Shinto art: the Kirishima Jingu/Kirishima Shrine in southern Kyushu. At a Shinto shrine, there is always a ‘gate’, called a Torii gate, though usually they aren’t this big. Shinto shrines tend to be very colourful - they seem to especially like reds. Both Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are often huge complexes of buildings and gardens. To show the whole thing would take tens, or even hundreds, of photographs.

The Torii gate at the Kirishima Jingu. Image credit: the auroran sunset

A building at Kirishima Jingu. Image credit: the auroran sunset

Next are a couple of Buddhist temples - the two biggest temples in temple-packed Kyoto - Kinkakuji and Kiyomizudera. Kinkakuji is painted with gold leaf and black lacquer (more expensive than the gold) and set on an island in a lake in a nice park.

Kinkakuji temple through the trees. Image credit: the auroran sunset

Kiyomizudera is huge. It has temples, outbuildings, pagodas, gardens, moss gardens, zen gardens, and more and more. Kiyomizudera has a good claim to being a world wonder. This is just a small building for a bell:

A bell house at Kiyomizudera. Image credit: the auroran sunset

And finally something perhaps more familiar: a cathedral. Lourdes Cathedral in southern France is where thousands come every year to drink the waters and get typhoid a magical cure. I prefer to just walk and look around. While I share abelard’s liking for stained glass, I have always been more interested in the buildings, both inside and out.

Lourdes cathedral. Image credit: the auroran sunset

Glass, columns and an organ inside Lourdes cathedral. Image credit: the auroran sunset

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