Torii
   The distinctive archway which marks the approach or entrance to a Shinto shrine (see Jinja). It typically consists of two round uprights (hashira) supporting a two-layer upper cross-beam (kasagi supported on shimagi) often curving up slightly at the ends in the popular myojin style. A little below the top is a separate under-cross-beam (nuki). The torii appeared in Japan after the introduction of Chinese culture and Buddhism. Until the Meiji period torii routinely displayed Buddhist plaques on the central 'gakuzuka' holder between the two cross-beams. All such Buddhist elements were removed during shinbutsu bunri. The origins of 'torii' (written as 'bird-perch') and the torii shape are speculative. The word may derive from Sanskrit torana/turan, an arch or portal, and entrances to Korean palaces had a torii-like entrance gate. Single poles are used to symbolise deities in Korea and in Japanese language hashira, 'pillar', is the counter for kami (as 'head' is the counter for 'cattle' in English). A shimenawa is often strung across the torii in addition to the crossbeam(s) and the basic shape of the torii may simply derive from a rope strung between pillars or bamboo stakes used to enclose a sacred space (see Himorogi). In the style called churen or shimenawa torii the torii simply comprises two posts and a rope, and this is the arrangement used for a temporary torii if a more permanent torii cannot be used for some reason. Whatever its origin, the torii became popular in temples and shrines and developed its own identity in Japan, with more than twenty different types now in use. Torii range from simple unpainted wooden or stone structures to bright red arches and massive concrete portals. Construction styles vary to some extent with the type of shrine (Hachiman, Inari etc.) but there is no strict correspondence between type of shrine and type of torii, and different types may be found together in a shrine. Simple 'pure Shinto' styles in wood or modern fireproof materials such as concrete were favoured after the Meiji restoration. Although most types of torii have two posts, the 'ryobu' or gongen style has four half-height legs as additional supports to the two hashira and the 'mi-hashira' torii has as its name suggests three posts, set in a triangle. The sumiyoshi torii has square-cut instead of round pillars while the shinmei type shares the stylised simplicity of the Ise jingu (see Shinmei-zukuri). The Ise shrine itself has the unique Ise torii or jingu torii. Shrines frequently have more than one torii and in cases such as the Fushimi Inari taisha in Kyoto a tradition has developed of companies donating torii to the shrine, so that the inner pathways of the shrine now pass through bright red 'tunnels' of serried torii.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • torii — torii …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • torii — [ tɔrii ] n. m. inv. • 1882 tori; mot jap. ♦ Arts Portique ornemental des temples japonais shintoïstes. ● torii nom masculin invariable (mot japonais) Portique de pierre ou de bois, quelquefois de bronze, précédant, au Japon, l entrée des temples …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • torii — [tō′rē ē΄] n. pl. torii [Jpn < tori, bird + i, nominal form of iru, to be, exist: birds offered to the gods were to perch on the crosspiece] a gateway at the entrance to a Japanese Shinto shrine, consisting of two uprights supporting a curved… …   English World dictionary

  • torii — singular and plural, gateway to a Shinto temple, Japanese, from tori bird + i to sit, to perch …   Etymology dictionary

  • Torii — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Torii (homonymie). Le torii du temple d Itsukushima Un torii ( …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Torii — A nihongo|torii|鳥居 is a traditional Japanese gate commonly found at the entry to a Shinto shrine, although it can be found at Buddhist temples as well. It has two upright supports and two crossbars on the top, and is frequently painted vermilion …   Wikipedia

  • Torii — Elemente eines Torii Torii (jap. 鳥居, zu Deutsch etwa „Vogelsitz“) sind Elemente der traditionellen japanischen Architektur. Es handelt sich dabei um Tore aus Holz oder Stein (seltener auch aus Eisen, Bronze oder Beton), die oft zinnoberrot… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • torii — /tawr ee ee , tohr /, n., pl. torii. (in Japan) a form of decorative gateway or portal, consisting of two upright wooden posts connected at the top by two horizontal crosspieces, commonly found at the entrance to Shinto temples. [1720 30; < Japn …   Universalium

  • Torii — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar a …   Wikipedia Español

  • torii — Portal simbólico que precede la entrada a un templo sintoísta o a otros lugares sagrados de Japón. Hay muchas variantes del torii, pero básicamente consiste en dos postes cilíndricos rematados por una viga rectangular atravesada que rebasa los… …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”