Have you noticed that many traditional Japanese bridges are decorated with the same bulbous ornaments? These are giboshi and they are inspired by the Buddhist tradition, their shape representing a sacred gem (houju) with the power to ward off evil spirits, cleanse the corruption and fulfill the wishes.
On the famous bridge Sanjo Ohashi from Kyoto there are 12 such ornaments, very valuable because of the craftsmanship and because of their age: these giboshi were made in 1590, during the time of Toyotomi Hideyoshi! And during all this time only one was lost, washed away by water during a flooding from 1935, but it was replaced with an identical one.
And they really look great, especially with a background of sakura cherry blossoms…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: