While the sight of masked statues of Carnell Sanders and Komainu (guardian dogs) made me smile in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, such a feeling has long since disappeared after such a long period. When I see huge guardian dogs standing on Wakamiya-Oji Street in Kamakura wearing a mask, I don't feel anything in particular; I just think, "Here, too." I only wonder who will replace the masks when they get dirty, or if they will come off and fly away if the wind is strong. Oh, I'm such a boring person.
The Komainu (guardian dogs) by the side of the approach to the shrine is placed there to protect the shrine and ward off evil spirits. In other words, like the Kongorikishi statue standing at the temple gate, they are expected to prevent evil from entering the sacred space. Despite such a heavy responsibility, the dog is not as impressive as the Kongorikishi. He has an enraged face and holds in his hand a vajra, a weapon of Indian origin. The guardian dogs, on the other hand, have only a frightened look on their faces, which makes them look unreliable.
It is widely believed that such guardian dogs were originally lions, not dogs. They originated in Persia and India and arrived in Japan via the Korean Peninsula, where they were transformed into dogs. In any case, Japanese people at that time had never seen a lion. After struggling with how to describe the lion, they settled on a dog with a slightly scary face, which is how it has come to be today.
|Mar 2022 KANAGAWA STILL LIFE|
|APPROACH GUARDIAN DOG KAMAKURA MASK STATUE|
March 22, 2022
August 15, 2023
Still Life Photography
SONY ALPHA 7R II
ZEISS BATIS 1.8/85