狛犬 Komainu(Koma Dog
「姿は唐獅子、呼び名は犬」で、境内を警護する魔除けの霊獣。獅子により神域の邪気を払うという風習が、朝鮮の高麗(こま)を経て日本に伝えられた。当時の人々は、これを高麗の犬だろうと考え、高麗犬(こまいぬ)と名づけた。*写真は、真清田神社の摂社のものです。
Komainu are the stone statues which resemble lions, that face each other at the entrance to shrines. They guard the shrine and scare off evil spirits.
Koma was a country in Korea which believed in the custom that lions guarded sacred grounds and scared off evil spirits. The Japanese at that time had never seen a lion, and presumed that it was some kind of dog from Koma! This is the reason why the Japanese refer to these stone statues as Koma ? Inu (Dog) instead of Koma ? Shishi (Lion).
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