Checking Out Hungry Ghosts in Nara

Now I finally feel as if I am over my jet lag, although I woke up at 5:30 this morning. After Monday, when I go to Nagoya to look for an apartment it will be non-stop, fast paced action so I am taking it easy this weekend. Mimi and I went to Nara Park today to visit a museum that had a collection of Japanese art assembled from around Japan and the world. It just happened that the show opened today.Stainless steel baricade in Nara Park

We took the train to Nara station and then walked to the park. On the way I noticed a stainless steel traffic impediment. I also saw an stainless steel railing welded to an existing mild steel barrier. Why install mild steel which constantly needs to be painted before it rusts when stainless will last? Stainless steel welded to rusting steel fenceI imagine cost is a big factor but I intend to discover the whole story. Both of these I photographed. During my research I plan to pay attention to the differences between durable aesthetic design and construction and cheap imitations. Expect numerous riveting fence pictures. Many of the trees in the park are sculpted into natural shapes with the utmost precision. The entire landscape of the park deserves study but there are plenty of people other than myself to carry that out.

The museum is situated in the beginning of Nara Park. This is the new addition to an older structure allowing more exhibition space. Nara Prefectural MusuemSurrounding the building is a sculpted garden that is only accessible to paying patrons of the museum. Mimi and I explored the park and found a lily pad covered pond filled with coy. There is also an old tea house from the Edo period with a thatched roof.

One of the interesting parts of the exhibit, aside from the gigantic paintings of gods, was the Scroll of 8 Hells. The exhibit featured many scrolls but this one caught my because of its seemingly modern styling even though it is from the 12th Century. Park behind Nara Prefectural MuseumSince I couldn’t take pictures in the museum I will give some short descriptions. To see the real thing hurry up and hop on a plane to Japan. One bad way to go is being eaten by maggots in a desert. Another way is to eternally burn your hands holding down a fire dragon. On a more morbid side your could be boiled alive with countless others and don’t forget about being attacked by what looked like a fire bird. If you can’t run fast then don’t skin animals or pull feathers out of birds because after death burning feathers will chase you for eternity and burn your mouth. Each of these Hells gathered a certain kind of sinner. For example all the monks that ate and drank too much were shoved into a river of flaming piss and dung by two large monsters. Did I mention it was flaming?

A different scroll featured ghosts with everlasting hunger. They were depicted eating babies, human fecal matter, garbage and various other terrible things I don’t consider food. On top of that they couldn’t swallow. Note to self don’t sin if you are Buddhist.

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