Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Reverie at a Fantastical Fountain

My favorite part of Akasaka Palace can be found behind the enormous building.

I am not alone in the admiration of this fountain.

The spraying waters draw you in.

To see the mythical beasts within.

Four griffin statues are arrayed at the corners.

It must be amazing to see this at night. For us mortals, we can only see it as part of the paid tour on days the palace is open.

I wish I could give information on who sculpted this marvelous fountain, the date it was made, but so far no luck. Searched in English and Japanese.

One thing to note, the griffins are not all the same. For example two have the shield under the right paw and two under the left paw.

At first I thought those were lion heads that water pours from at the base of the griffins. Lions are popular symbols of royalty. However they look like they have tusks so may be boar heads which makes sense since boars do exist in Japan. Either way both are seen as powerful animals and symbols of prosperity.

Along with the boar heads there are turtles. Turtles are seen as creatures of stability and good luck.

The fish with uplifted fins and long serpentine tails at the top remind me of shachihoko on Japanese roofs. These are used for protection, especially from fire. I can't help but think of these fish as joyous in the rain of falling water.

While griffin or gryphon may seem western, the earliest examples found are in Ancient Egypt and Iran. From there the image traveled to Central Asia. Seen as the king of beasts and protectors they are used as a symbol of rulers. Which may be why they were chosen to be part of the fountain at the palace for the Prince.

 I really enjoyed spending time at the fountain. It's a nice place to dream at. I hope you enjoyed my photos of it.

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