Nikko Taiyuin Tokugawa Mausoleum
While Toshogu in Nikko houses the mausoleum of the first Tokugawa shogun Ieyasu, Taiyuin is the last resting place of his grandson Iemitsu. Other names for the temple are Taiyuin Reibyo and Nikkosanrinnoji Taiyuin. It is a colorful Buddhist temple with artful statues and intricate details in its woodwork that is worth seeing when you’re in Nikko.
The Honden, Ainoma, and Haiden were founded in 1653 in Nikko. The structures have been maintained to this day without alteration. However, there are some traces of minor changes in the painting finish ascribed to repair work carried out in the Edo Period.
The composition of three chambers in this precinct represents the Gongen-zukuri style, the same as in Toshogu. Also, Taiyu-in’s main hall has a double-layered roof. The policy of construction from the earliest stage was to achieve the highest quality decorations. in the engraving, lacquering, painting, and metal fitting work.
The Karamon gate has a Chinese style gable on the front entry side. It is an excellent work of carpentry in terms of both structure and decorative design, which are expressed in intricate woven patterns and metal openwork. The Yashamon is a gate with four Chinese style gables, featuring eight supporting columns. Excellent workmanship is fully exercised in the structure and decorative design of the gate. Especially in the peony carvings, this can be seen, as they are applied consistently as the main motif.
Another example of excellent decoration is the pattern of decorative grooves carved on the columns. In addition, red and blue statues of Yaksa (a demonic deity) are enshrined as guardians. You can see them stand in small enclosures on both sides of the front of the gate. Additionally, white and ultramarine statues of Yaksa are enshrined in enclosures at the back of the gate.
The Taiyu-in Reibyo Kokamon is a whitewashed gate with an arched entrance. This gate is traditionally associated with the image of the gate to the mythological ‘Palace of the Dragon King’. Unusual workmanship was exercised in the plastering techniques of the wainscots, whose brilliant whiteness was realized by mixing lead oxide with the pigments.
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