Ise Comparison

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been slowly going through my photos from the Japan trip, and posting, bit by bit, to my Flickr account.

Today I edited photos from the Ise Shrine, where I took a few matched shots of the new and old shrines, for comparison. The new shrine is constructed (and consecrated) only once every 20 years, and after completion, the old shrine is disassembled and its components are shipped to other shrines across the country for reuse. We were lucky to be there during the few months when both shrines stand side-by-side.

Seeing the two identical shrines, one freshly built, one aged to an ash grey, really reinforced the cyclical nature of this sacred site… and makes one question perceived aspects of permanence and authenticity in architecture. Here, the ‘architecture’ is the process, the maintenance of traditional skills in service of preservation of a sacred site. It was incredibly moving, one of the most anticipated stops on the trip, and one with the greatest payoff.

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As always, more photos on my Flickr page: Ise Shrine.

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