nioumon 二王門
KEY WORD : architecture / gates
Also written 仁王門. A true two-storied gate *nijuumon 二重門, or a high gate *roumon 楼門. It is either 5×2 bays or 3 ×2 bays, the latter being basically an 8-legged type of gate *hakkyakumon 八脚門. The name of the gate is derived from the status of *Kongou rikishi 金剛力士, enshrined in the outer right bay and Misshaku kongou 密迹金剛, enshrined in the outer left bay. They are the guardian gods believed to protect the main entrance gates of temples. These two gods together are called *Niou 仁王. Fences called *kongousaku 金剛柵, made of vertical laths with decorative tops, are set across the front of the outer bays and along the passage sides of the same bays. Hip-level tie beams *koshinuki 腰貫, stretch between the secondary corner pillars and the pillar at the edge of the entrance. There are exceptions to the locations of the statues. Sometimes they are placed in the inner bays as at Koumyouji Nioumon 光明寺二王門 (1248) in Kyoto, and the two front bays are left open. Another example at Ishideji Nioumon 石手寺二王門 (1318) in Ehime prefecture, has a 3 x 2 bay with a center bay entrance. The statues are placed in the front two bays with fences across the front and up the inner sides. The gate doors are hung between the two center main pillars and the back bays are all open. An example of a 5 x 2 bay Nioumon (1642) can be seen at Ninnaji 仁和寺, which has three entrances. The end bays are walled on the exterior and between the outer and second set of main pillars. The other bays are fenced.


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