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Reaction to Shrines and Temples of Nicco - Essay Example

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It is a live embodiment of the Shinto religious view, which advocates a strong bond between the human race and nature. The temples…
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Reaction to Shrines and Temples of Nicco
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Reaction to Shrines and Temples of Nikko and the Forbidden The Nikko site is indeed a very special place in Japan because it houses the divine temples and shrines amidst the fascinating beauty of nature. It is a live embodiment of the Shinto religious view, which advocates a strong bond between the human race and nature. The temples have been built on the slopes of the Nikko mountain, which itself has long been worshipped in the Japanese tradition. The sacred shrines are also a testimony of the ancient Japanese art and architecture that continues to fascinate art lovers all over the world. The location of the sacred places of worship amidst the ethereal beauty of nature makes Nikko a heritage site of the world. The Shinto religious outlook of Japan embodies a unique concept as it emphasizes man’s relationship with nature. Mountains and forests are regarded as objects of spiritual worship and accordingly temples have been constructed in nature’s background. From very early days, the Nikko mountain has been worshipped in the country. During the late 8th century, Shodo, a Buddhist monk constructed the first temples on the slopes of the Nikko mountain. The Nikko temples gained further importance as a sacred shrine in the Kanto region during the end of the 12th century when the Kamakura Shogunate was established in the same region. Gradually, the temples and Shrines of Nicco became a symbol of national sovereignty. In 1871, the Meiji Government decided to divide the Nikko religious buildings site into three divisions representing three different religious groups. These were the Futarasan-jinja and the Toshogu of the Shinto faith and the Rinno-ji belonging to the Buddhist ideology. This decision involved the movement and restoration of certain buildings at the Nikko shrine1.
The Imperial Palace of the Forbidden City in Beijing is almost like a statement of the power and grandeur of the Ming dynasty. The formal structure of the Palace is a reflection of the strong authority of the rulers of this lineage. The Chinese civilization is one of the oldest civilizations of the world and the Imperial Palaces of both Beijing and Shenyang are a testimony to that grand cultural heritage. The Forbidden City is located at the centre of Beijing, to the north of the Tiananmen Square. The Imperial Palace is now known as the Palace Museum, since UNESCO has converted into a world heritage site. The Forbidden City bears the look of a formal place. Most of the important buildings in the palace complex are symmetrically arranged and are built down the centre, north and south of the City. In 1406, Emperor Zhu Di of the Ming dynasty decided to construct this palatial building. The architectural style of the Imperial Palace in Beijing is sure to remind one of the rich cultural traditions of the Chinese civilization2.
In comparison, the Imperial Palace of the Qing dynasty in Shenyang is a smaller version of the Palace in Beijing. This Palace has a remarkable architecture. It is living proof of the art form of the ruling Qing dynasty. However, the Palace also reflects the influence of the architecture of the Manchu and other north-Chinese tribes of those tribes. The Qing dynasty was the last dynasty that ruled China from Shenyang, after which they shifted the capital of the country to Beijing. The Imperial Palace in Shenyang is also a huge palace by its own standards which houses as many as 114 buildings. After the Qing dynasty moved their capital to Beijing, the Imperial Palace in Shenyang became auxiliary to Beijing’s Imperial Palace3.
The Forbidden City of Beijing and the Imperial Palace of Shenyang are symbols of power and authority. The first reflects a somber picture of the power that the ancient royal dynasties exercised over their ruling areas. Persons interested in ancient history will be automatically interested in the Imperial Palaces of Beijing and Shenyang. However, the shrines and temples of Nikko are altogether on a different plane due to their unique combination of sanctity and beauty. There are very few places in the entire world which herald such a juxtaposition of religion shrines on the bountiful lap of nature. Nikko has the capacity to attract the historians, the archaeologists as well as people belonging to the spiritual world. Thus the appeal of the temples and shrines of Nikko encompasses a universal message.
References
1. UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1992-2011) Shrines and Temples of Nikko (5 September 2011)
2. UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1992-2011) Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang < http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/439> (5 September 2011) Read More
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