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tomoemon@”b•Ά
CATEGORY:@1 architecture / roofing tiles : 2 art history / paintings
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1@Also tomoe ”b. A pattern of one or more curled tadpole shapes inside a circle. The pattern is also called right tomoe, migidomoe ‰E”b, or left tomoe, hidaridomoe Ά”b, depending on the direction in which the pattern curves. When the comma shapes are placed in opposite directions, the term kaeruko domoe Š^Žq”b is used. The expressions double tomoe, futatsudomoe “ρ‚Β”b, or triple tomoe, mitsudomoe ŽO‚Β”b are used depending on the number of tadpole shapes used. The pattern was used to decorate the eave-end semi-cylindrical tiles *nokidomoegawara Œ¬”bŠ’, *nokimarugawara Œ¬ŠΫŠ’ on Buddhist temples. The pattern first appeared in the Heian period and has continued to be popular to the present day. Sharp pointed tomoemon forms in the Heian period gradually changed to short rounded forms by the Edo period. The same is design is also found on roof-tiles in China, where the tomoemon is associated with water. Therefore, the tiles are believed to ward off fire. A tile with this design is known as *tomoegawara ”bŠ’ or *hanamarugawara ’[ŠΫŠ’.


migi hitotsudomoe
‰Eˆκ‚Β”b
hidari futatsudomoe
Ά“ρ‚Β”b
migi mitsudomoe
‰EŽO‚Β”b
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2@A design pattern comprised of one or more spherical head-like shapes each with a connected curving tail-like shape which ends in a point. The character tomoe ”b means eddy or whirlpool; however, it is not clear if this was the original idea of the design. Some scholars are convinced that it stems from the design on leather guard worn by ancient archers-tomo θΫ thus tomo-e θۊG, a tomo picture. Others say it was originally a representation of a coiled snake. It may be the oldest design in Japan, because it is similar in shape to the *magatama ‹Θ‹Κ jewelry beads of the Yayoi period. It appears as a design on the wall paintings of the Byoudouin *Hououdou •½“™‰@–P™€“° (1053) in Kyoto, and in the Illustrated Handscroll of the Tale of Genji Genji monogatari emaki ŒΉŽ•¨ŒκŠGŠͺ (early 12c). It was widely used from the Kamakura period onward and is often found on utensils, roof tiles and family and shrine heraldry. Its frequent appearance in connection with Shinto shrines indicates that it was thought to express the spirit of the gods. Patterns of one, two and three tomoe exist, some facing left, others right.

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