Jump to content
BulletSprinkler

Heckin Chonker Birbs

Recommended Posts

So I recently picked up these menuki, and they are huge, about 7.5 x 2.3 cm each. Whatever they were mounted on must have been massive.there is some nice detail in them, and if you look close you will notice that one has its beak open and one has its beak closed, as in A and N, representing beginning and end of all things. This is seen also on pairs of Nio positioned in front of temple gates. 
Anyways, Im sure these are late edo work, does anyone have any thoughts or input they would like to share regarding a possible school?

post-4053-0-09899200-1574567402_thumb.png

 

post-4053-0-80286200-1574567491_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
you will notice that one has its beak open and one has its beak closed, as in A and N, representing beginning and end of all things. This is seen also on pairs of Nio positioned in front of temple gates. 

 

 Hello Jay

 

this description would seem to be a very Christian interpretation of the actual symbolism that we see in Japanese art.  There is no such concept of 'the beginning and the end' Alpha and omega, (as a reference to the Christian creator god), in Oriental cosmology.

 

The open and closed mouths reference, instead, the natural breathing pattern of life, and thereby the cycles of life/existance as understood in both Confucian and Shinto thought.  Ibuki, breathing exercises, which emphasise this interplay are a significant aspect of classical martial arts and indeed many Zen meditation practices. The in and out flow of air is also a direct reference to In/yo, (yin/yang), Taoist based philosophies. 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The open-mouthed one is making the "a" sound and is known as "agyo" and the closed-mouth is making the "n" sound and is called "ungyo". These are the first and last syllables in Japanese and symbolize beginning and end, birth and death, equivalent to the alpha and omega in Greco-European culture."

 

"The open-mouth figure is called “Agyō,” who is uttering the sound “ah,” meaning birth. His close-mouth partner is called “Ungyō,” who sounds “un” or “om,” meaning death. Other explanations for the opened/closed mouth include:

 

Mouth open to scare off demons, closed to shelter/keep in the good spirits.

 

“Ah” is the first sound in the Japanese alphabet, while "N" (pronounced “un” ) is the last, so the combination symbolically represents all possible outcomes (from alpha to omega) in the cosmic dance of existence. The first letter in Sanskrit is “Ah” as well, but the last is “Ha.” Nonetheless, the first and last sounds produced by the mouth are “Ah” (mouth open) and “M” (mouth closed). The Japanese "n" and the Sanskrit "m" sound exactly the same when hummed with mouth closed. The spiritual Sanskrit term AHAM thus encapsulates the first letter-sound “A,” the last letter-sound “HA,” and the final sound “M” when the mouth is closed.

"

 

Src: https://www.japanvisitor.com/Japanese-culture/nio-guardians

 

https://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/nio.shtml

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the Alpha and Omega idea is not Greco-European, it's Christian, specifically to be found in the book of Revelation. That claim already rings serious alarm bells.

 

And, as I said, there is no such philosophical concept of beginning and end, birth/death, similar to the Alpha/Omega notion of Christianity in Oriental thought. In fact the cyclical nature of existence as propounded in Oriental philosophy might be the most obvious contrast with Christian ideas of a beginning and an end.

 

If you want to properly understand another culture and time it is not helpful to conflate concepts that may at the most superficial level bear some similarities, according to a blogger on a travel website. I suppose it's easily enough done but once a few 'in depth' texts on the subject are absorbed perhaps a more accurate sense of Oriental thinking and beliefs might be developed. For anyone interested this would make a decent foundation work to read, it not at all overly scholarly and it's pretty succinct in presenting a broad historical sweep of ideas.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ford, where the heck did I say "Alpha and Omega"? I said beginning and end of all things, as in creation and destruction of every object, birth and death of every person. There is certainly a concept of birth and death in buddhism, how else will you be reincarnated if you don't die first? I guess several written articles are wrong and you are the only one who knows everything huh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jay,

The first article you linked to referenced the alpha omega idea. Didn't you read it in full?

And in fact Buddhism has nothing to say about reincarnation. The Pali Canon, the most complete document of Buddhist teaching from the historical Buddha, is explicit on that point. Reincarnation is a Hindu concept.

But I have no desire to get into an on-line fight with a chap called bullet sprinkler, that sounds ill advised. :-?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Ah” is the first sound in the Japanese alphabet, while "N" (pronounced “un” ) is the last, ...

 

Interesting theory – except that it's 'a', not 'ah'. And besides, 'n' ん (which isn't pronounced 'un' btw) was not distinguished from mu む in writing until the Japanese script reform in the early 20‘th century. That’s why ん, for example, isn’t found in the famous iroha いろは poem, which was frequently used as an ordering of the kana.

 

As to the mouth open / mouth closed pairing: so far I’ve seen this symbolism only when it comes to Niō and shishi. Those pairs are generally believed to represent the vocalization of the first grapheme of Sanskrit Devanāgarī which is pronounced "a", and the last grapheme which is pronounced "hūṃ". These two sounds together (a-hūṃ अहूँ) symbolize the birth and death of all things. A-un 阿吽 is the transliteration of the two syllables in Japanese .

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jay, you need to chill out. No-one dissed your menuki. Ford just gave you some info on the theme that should have been seen as helpful.
Having studied in Japan, having spend most of his life immersed in Japanese culture, and having a Japanese master...I'm guessing he has some knowledge on the subject.
Why you feel it is an attack, I have no idea. The menuki are nice. I always fail to see what people expect when they ask for a school for many fittings. Things aren't neat little boxes. Unless they are one of the big names like Goto or very unique, the school is probably "Edo menuki"
Anyways, you should be less stressed over someone adding their thoughts to your post. I see no disrespect intended.

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems these old menuki have rustled some feathers. Brian must watch this thread like a hawk before it turns into a real wild goose chase.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...