The title, translated to English, is ‘Serendipity (Kiyomizu-dera)’.
So a few days ago, I got on a serious East Asian art kick, having had a RL encounter with the Terracotta Warriors of China’s first Emperor – part of the insane grave goods that were interred with him when he passed away. They got me thinking about things Japanese, which got me thinking about Japanese woodcuts, which got me thinking about the kinds of insane kimono and furisode and hapi that you see in the 100 Poets series. Which got me wondering – what was in SL for someone who wanted to do something that was of that period?
Then, Hero decided to throw a can of white gasoline on the fire by saying ‘Oh hey I’m gonna go take photos at Kiyomizu’. ‘Kiyomizu?’ I asked. ‘What, there’s a rendition of Kiyomizu-dera in SL?’
Yes, Nathaniel, there is a Kiyomizu.
In RL, the temple at Kiyomizu is a World Heritage Site, and made the short-list in a contest to name the ‘Seven Modern Wonders of the World’ run internationally. The present temple building was erected in 1633, and is an amazing 13m off the mountainside that it’s built upon. This is amazing when you consider that the whole thing was crafted by hand, and even more amazing when you consider that under the main hall of the temple is a spring and waterfall which had to not be disturbed by the construction: the spring is considered the seat of a kami. Some English-speakers would translate kami as ‘god’, but my understanding of Shinto and of Latin suggests the term animus loci as a preferable term: the sacred spirit of a place that seems to have a touch of the supernatural to it.
This photo is in low-rez because the beautiful fuzzy graphics settings that I was using for the sim didn’t allow me to get a crisp view of the shaded pillars and crossbeams that support the Second Life reproduction of the temple. When one visits Kiyomizu-dara in the real world, the experience of being under all this wood, all this careful craft, is truly humbling. In Second Life, the view is certainly quite stunning as well!
The Japanese equivalent of ‘take the plunge’ translates, literally, as ‘to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu’. It was considered, in the era before the arrival of Commodore Perry and the black ships, that to leap from the veranda and survive the 14 meter plunge (just a bit less than 46 feet for those of you who don’t speak Metric) was a sign that you were supernaturally lucky – favored by the gods, if you will.
The Buddhist temple is surrounded by several Shinto shrines and a pagoda.
And in front of the shrine is one of my strongest memories of visiting Kiyomizu in Real Life: the temizu basin, where one performs the rite of washing his hands (and face, if he feels particularly as if he ought to) before visiting the shrine.
Yes, that’s me in long hair, an East Asian skin and shape, and a kimono. Surprise!
Here’s the front of the shrine considered more squarely:
the arrow I’m holding is a hamaya, which is a blessed arrow that is available at the start of the new year in Japan: the purpose is good fortune, and the name literally translates as ‘demon-breaking arrow’. The hamaya is generally something you take home after visiting the shrine and put up in the house for luck.
One last photo, then, where you can actually clearly make out the outfit I have on. Bare Rose made the kimono, which was surprisingly inexpensive (though fair warning: it’s primmy as all get-out and does take a little adjusting to fit onto a fairly average-shaped male avatar!)
Location: Little Cat GreenEyes – Kiyomizu
Hair: Wasabi Pills “Dragon Mesh hair – MALE – Ash”
Shape: My own creation!
Skin: body co. “Tiger (05 Sunkissed) black”
Kimono and sandals: Bare Rose “Otoko Oiran Black Kimono”
Tattoo: Lapointe & Bastchild “Dragon God”
Pose (in final photo): Diesel Works “Natya 5”