Rengemon 蓮華門
KEY WORD : architecture / gates
Also written 蓮花門. Lit. Lotus Flower Gate. A gate located in the west wall opposite main east gate, Toudaimon 東大門 of Kyouougokokuji 教王護国寺 (also called Touji 東寺), Kyoto. An eight-legged gate, Hakkyakumon 八脚門, 3×2 bays, with an entrance at center bay. The roof is gabled *kirizuma yane 切妻屋根, tiled *hongawarabuki 本瓦葺, and dated 1191. All pillars are circular. A thick rectangular block of stone, karaishiki 唐居敷, forms the base for two main pillars on each side of the center bay. A hole *jikuana 軸穴, is made in each block for inserting the lower pivot hinge *jikuzuri 軸吊, for the lower part of the gate doors. In order that the doors close tightly at the bottom, a high kick board *kehanashi 蹴放, is positioned across the threshold. Three-on-one bracket complexes *mitsudo tokyou 三斗斗きょう are placed on a long beam *kabuki 冠木, that extends out through both gable pediments and beyond. No wall encloses the pediments. Double rainbow beams *kouryou 虹梁, with plain, wooden old-style frog-leg struts *kaerumata 蟇股, are placed well within the structure. They support the bracket complexes * tokyou 斗きょう that carry the ridge beam *munagi 棟木.
The eaves are double *futanoki 二軒 and the rafters are closely spaced *shigedaruki 繁垂木. White plaster coats the roof boards between the rafters. The ceiling *keshou yane 化粧屋根 is open-beamed. The roof was originally covered with cypress bark *hiwadabuki 桧皮葺, but is now tiled, hongawarabuki.
When *Kuukai 空海 (774-835), founder of the Shingon 真言 sect of Esoteric Buddhism mikkyou 密教, left Touji for Mt. Kouya 高野, tradition has it that he departed from this gate, and the *Fudou Myouou 不動明王 image in the west precinct saw him off. Later, miraculously, a lotus flower grew where the Fudou Myouou stood, giving the gate its name.


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.