Shunko-in Temple

At Night, The Golden Secret Reveals Itself

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At Night, The Golden Secret Reveals Itself

※This guide accompanies a special night-time exhibit at Myoshin-dera's subtemple, Shunko-in temple. The exhibition will run from June 29th, 2019 to August 4th, 2019.

Have you ever seen a golden screen illuminated by the light of a single flickering candle?

“I had never seen a gold that holds such a sorrowful beauty. Even as I passed by it, I found myself looking back towards it. When observed from an angle, one could see the deep luster of its surface. This was not a flickering light like the twinkling of the stars, but rather, it was like the way a face changes with a flush of emotions, a long lasting flash of light that lingers on… Only then did I understand why the people of old would cover Buddhist statues in gold, or adorn the rooms of aristocrats with gold on all four walls.”

This is a line from Jun'ichirō Tanizaki’s famous novel, “In Praise of Shadows.”
In modern times, we can make the dark night as bright as morning, thanks to fluorescent lighting. However, these didn’t exist in the past . We want you to try to imagine it. In the darkness of the night, you catch a flicker of gold under the light of a lone candle. The gold falls to the background as the plants and animals painted on the screen come to the forefront.

Shunkō-in is home to a brilliant golden fusuma sliding screen, so we would like to rediscover the charm of “Gold” here. In order to do so, we will need to go back to its roots, so that we can fully experience the golden fusuma. Through the guidance of the vice abbot here at Shunkō-in, Kawakami-san, we will not only explore the temple but also uncover a story that is invisible to the eye.

Once you have seen the glimmer under the dim lights of the night,
once you have heard the story,
Only then you will the golden secret reveal itself.

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