The roof tiles have continued to look up at the sky of Japan even though it is clear day, rainy day, fierce day, and snow day.
The roof tiles of Gango-ji Temple in Nara are regarded as the oldest Japanese roof tiles in existence.
The origin of Ganko-ji Temple is Hoko-ji Temple in Asuka region that was the first Japanese orthodox temple. Hoko-ji Temple was moved into current place of Nara in 718. A part of the roof tiles of the main hall is regarded that it was carried at that time.
Such the valuable Ganko-ji Temple are designated as World Heritage Site, and also main hall and Zen room of Ganko-ji Temple are designated as National Treasures.
↑Main hall(right side) and Zen room(left side)
The contemporary roof tile is reduced weight and has heat-resistant, so it means the performance of contemporary roof tile is superior to the roof tile of Ganko-ji Temple. However we can’t judge which is superior for durability, because the roof tiles of Ganko-ji have already been proof against for 1000 years.
It follows from this, the roof tile of Ganko-ji Temple will get the verdict for elegance and dignity. Don’t you think so?
It is the same for humans to get elegance and dignity as the years go on.
“Roof tile” is “Kawara” in Japanese.
I just traced the word “Kawra” to its origin.
The result is there are various views as followings.
- It comes form “kapāla” of Sanskrit. “kapāla” has meaning of dish, bowl and skull. Sanskrit is ancient language that was used in North Asia such as India and Southeast Asia. The birthplace of Buddhism is India, so it seems that this opinion might be reliability.
- A word “kawara” that include meaning of carapace.
- A word “kahara” that include meaning of armor.
- The skin is “kawa” in Japanese. Kawara include meaning of roof skin.
- Chage is “Kawaru” in Japanese. The roof tile(kawara) is changed(kawaru) from soil.
There are many opinions, but the roof tiles of Gango-ji Temple might know, because they are the oldest roof tiles in Japan.
↑East gate of Ganko-ji Temple
Gango-ji Temple is located about 400m from Kofuku-ji temple and Todai-ji Temple, which are registered as World Heritage Site. So please stop in Gango-ji Temple when you visit Kofuku-ji temple and Todai-ji Temple, and please image for ancient sky together with the Japanese oldest roof tiles!
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11 Chuin-cho, Nara, Japan
Post code: 630-8392