Spirit Screens

Samye Ling Entrance. It is strange to the western eye, when visiting the Samye Ling Buddhist complex Go to another site. in Eskdalemuir, to find that the entrance way does not allow any sight of the temple and its courtyard. Blocking any such view is a Spirit Screen, in this case with an inset round window Spirit Screens Go to another site. in the East have two functions: to delay gratification and delight at a prospect, and to keep out unwanted spirits. Faced with these walls, we in the West are somewhat disconcerted, and that is the intention of the Spirit Screen, although the intended victims are the unwanted spirits who, on entering a main gate or door, find that they are faced with a wall, and so, not knowing what to do, they retreat. Spirit Screen Window Spirit Screen window at Samye Ling Wayside Spirit Screen left

Three views of a wayside graveyard near
Tĩnh Gia in Vietnam
Wayside Spirit Screen right Wayside Graveyard This family graveyard, by a road near Tĩnh Gia, shows that even simple constructions may use a spirit screen, here the function is purely to keep spirits out as the living visitor has already seen what lies beyond the screen There is a second reason that such screens are introduced into grander buildings, and that is to delay the spectacle and its delight, so increasing the pleasure by this deferment. This same technique is used in Oriental gardens, the visitor passes from one sequestered area to another, interest repeatedly being re-awakened by the revelations, rather than the total scene being laid out on first entry. As we explore such gardens there will be points along the way where the more extensive views are integrated into the local garden. It seems that architects in all cultures seek to guide our attentions; they find ways of gaining our attention while leaving us feeling that we have freely given it. Spirit Screen from inside A Spirit Screen in Huế seen from inside the courtyard Spirit Screen in Hue Citidal of Hue This Spirit Screen guards one of the small palaces that compose Huế's Imperial City (or Citadel); here besides keeping unwanted spirits at bay it also prevents the buildings from being seen fully until the visitor has entered the courtyard, although by taking this shot from above head hight the buildings inside the courtyard can be seen The next page is about visiting our friend Lợi. In normal Vietnamese manner 13 of us descended on his house for a meal one afternoon, probably with a couple of hours notice. The flip side is that the guests when they arrive pitch in and do much of the cooking and setting up. Meal at Loi's house. line
Saturday 26th December 2015 Murphy

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