Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Gates

New Yorkers are still buzzing about the gates, which I feel is more impressive an artwork when seen at a distance than when captured directly (walking through them). Now, the new buzz is whether or not the Gates may be a refashioning--dare I say fraud--of the Japanese Torri.
There have been dozens of news stories promoting (geez, they have good publicists) a new work at Central Park featuring numerous orange gates...But I have to sound the alarm: this isn't original 'in any way!' It's clearly a very unadorned replica of the very well-known Japanese gates known as 'torii.'

Japan Reference describes them, "Literally meaning "where the birds reside", torii are gateways at the entrance of Shinto shrines, or "jinja". They are typically made of wood, stone or sometimes iron. Most wooden torii are painted in red. The best place to see torii gates is Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Taisha, where thousands of them are lined up in a tunnel-like fashion."
Whether or not this is an example of "Japanese culture/design grossly uncredited," as one writer puts it, is debatable.

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