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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Japanese Roof Gargoyles onigawara

鬼瓦

Japanese roof gargoyles or onigawara are a common sight on temples and old houses.

oni means demon and kawara is tile. The gargoyles attached to Japanese roofs are to ward off evil spirits and the constant threat of fire.

Japanese Roof Gargoyles onigawara

The practice of adding decorative roof tiles to buildings came from China and began in the Nara Period (710-794) in Japan.

Japanese castle roofs commonly display the mythical shachi - a dolphin or killer whale type creature that protects from fire. The shachi are usually in male and female pairs.

If you have a picture of a Japanese gargoyle and wish to display it on JapanVisitor please contact us.

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