March 26, 2011

Doors and Windows

Emma noticed last week that I like to photograph doors and windows. She thought I must have quite a collection of door/window photos. I went through my computer files to see - over 7000 pictures in iPhoto! I am posting a few of them here:

A favorite place for door and window contemplation is Ayuwang Temple 阿育王, on the outskirts of Beilun - a short taxi ride away from our home. This temple was first constructed in AD 300 and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times since. It is a large, working temple. One time we went and it seemed like the monks (men and women) were having 'family day' with relatives arriving with food, taking pictures and looking proud of their family's monk. All monks shave their heads and wear special clothes made with no animal products.

The Doors
I think on the left hand side it says 逍客止步 Traveler Stop - forbidden entry. I spend time deciphering characters on or asking my Chinese friends "what does it say?" I am illiterate here and I do not like the feeling! I now have a clue as to the pain of illiteracy at home or anywhere.

Some doors are more elaborate than others.

I enjoy the simple old doors the most.

Doors are sometimes carved, always massive. I always try to open them or peek through the key holes. Often there is a shrine or garden hidden inside. Haven't been caught - yet! :)

This isn't really a door, more of a passageway. They are all over the temple - beautiful and mysterious. Sometimes the monks run down the passageways when they appear to be late for temple service. There is a particular slap slap sound to their shoes on the stone walkways.


Windows sometimes have bars, lattice work or both. This window had piles of unburned incense on the sill. I wondered what happened to the piles and piles of incense given in offering. Some people burn their offerings and pray, others leave their offering on a table in front of the Buddha. Lovely colors.

This is a window-to-be in a new wing to the temple.

Here is a close up view of the tools and tangerines.

I like watching new construction in China's temples, because they use many of the same old tools, but are also putting in wiring and plumbing so the monks can have some comforts of present day life. I believe the tool on the right is a planer. Perhaps my cousin Aaron the cool tool guy can enlighten me! :)

More doors and windows from other sites next time!


  1. There is just something special about Chinese doors and windows. I love the pix, but the stories are even better!

    Looking forward to all 7K pictures -- and the words too!

  2. You are the best - my loyal reader :) - keeping me going with posting! Miss you!