The third week is finished of the A to Z Challenge!
Today we have:
T is for Temple Guard Dragon
The letter T has been a bit of a pain for me during this AtoZ Challenge — I’ve changed the picture three times already, as I keep finding another and another that I like “better” during my searches for other letters. But don’t worry, I’m keeping all the “rejected Ts” in reserve for next month, of course. 🙂
The temple referred to in this picture would appear to be a Shinto temple, given the torii gates standing in the background. Shinto is a fascinating belief system native to Japan that I studied extensively in my late teens and twenties. A great basic overview is presented at this BBC site Shinto at a glance:
Shinto is not a way of explaining the world. What matters are rituals that enable human beings to communicate with kami.
Kami are not God or gods. They are spirits that are concerned with human beings – they appreciate our interest in them and want us to be happy – and if they are treated properly they will intervene in our lives to bring benefits like health, business success, and good exam results.
Shinto is a very local religion, in which devotees are likely to be concerned with their local shrine rather than the religion as a whole. Many Japanese will have a tiny shrine-altar in their homes.
However, it is also an unofficial national religion with shrines that draw visitors from across the country. Because ritual rather than belief is at the heart of Shinto, Japanese people don’t usually think of Shinto specifically as a religion – it’s simply an aspect of Japanese life. This has enabled Shinto to coexist happily with Buddhism for centuries.
Much more information can be found at that website. I’ve always been a fan of learning about other cultures and belief systems — two of my favorite college courses were “Intercultural Communication” and “World Religions,” in fact. I think if we all took the time to learn more about each other across the world, we could make this a much more tolerant and understanding global society. (Okay, back to art.)
This artist has also done some studies of Game of Thrones scenes, which is timely since the show will be coming back tomorrow, at least here in the U.S.! This above is a picture of Nymeria, Arya Stark’s dire wolf. Cute puppy. I’m very excited for the show to come back, although to be honest, I think I’d be more excited if George R.R. Martin announced the next book was coming out instead.
Thanks for reading everyone, stay creative, and tune in Monday for a really terrifying dragon for the letter U!