Friday, February 18, 2005

Winds from the East

A letter to the editor in the NYT (see "Bereano") from a guy in Seattle raised an interesting comparison that I had sensed but never articulated, having never been to Japan. This letter and other blogs (1, 2) have mentioned how "The Gates" here greatly resemble the "torii" of Shinto shrines, especially those on the grounds of the Fushimi Inari Shrine outside Kyoto. I'm not sure whether it's a case of similar aesthetics or latent imitation, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it "fraud." The comparison works even better when you remember that the artists originally planned for 11,000 to 15,000 gates to fill the park, before officials put the kabosh on those totals.

Speaking of Eastern religions: The last time I heard the word "saffron" being used so frequently to describe a color was when the Buddhist monks came to visit in Erie.

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