One of the most interesting things to see at the Toshogu Shrine from Nikko are the sculptures… there are 5173 of them… Only on the Yomeimon Gate there are 508 sculptures and 194 are representing very interesting imaginary animals, called Reiju ("holy” or “spiritual” animals).
Most of them are fully imaginary, but some are borrowed from non-Japanese mythologies, like the one in this photo, the Horse-dragon. Coming from the Chinese mythology, the Horse-dragon (Longma in Chinese) has the head of a dragon but without the whiskers, two horns and legs ending in hoofs. Spiritually, the Horse-dragon was considered an omen foretelling a wise ruler…
The sculpture’s details are beautiful and I especially like its gaze…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: