Project NIO-MON-†A Portal, A Home

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Project NIO-MON-†A Portal, A Home is een project waarin we een poort (Niōmon) gaan opzetten voor twee bijzondere objecten: twee Japanse tempelwachters. †Deze poort moet niet alleen letterlijk maar overdrachtelijk worden opgevat - een project waarin de weg die bewandeld wordt even relevant is als het doel.

Een†NIOMON†is een poort bij de ingang van een tempelgebied. Zij herbergt twee tempelwachters, genaamd A-gyo en UN-gyo. Hun klanken A en UN zijn de eerste en laatste lettergrepen van het Siddham schrift;†samen vertegenwoordigen ze alle mogelijke klanken en symboliseren daarmee alle kennis, wijsheid en mededogen. Wie door de poort gaat, verkrijgt symbolisch toegang tot deze wijsheid.


Tot op heden hebben meer dan 1700 deelnemers in zowel Nederland als Japan samengewerkt om de twee spectaculaire Japanse tempelwachters van het Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam terug te brengen naar hun geboortedorp, Yokota, Shimane-ken, Japan.

De tempelwachters waren al lang weg uit Yokota en werden gemist door de mensen van het dorp. Maar vorig jaar doken ze opnieuw in Yokota op: in Delfts blauwe pakken!†Daar zullen ze binnenkort hun taken als bewakers† en beschermers weer kunnen oppakken, maar niet voordat ze de weg terug hebben gevonden naar hun voormalige thuis: Iwaya-ji's NIOMON, de poort waar ze 700 jaar stonden).

Helaas verkeert de poort in erbarmelijke staat en heeft onderhoud en reparatie nodig. Ze is vervallen en nauwelijks in staat haar vroegere schatten te dragen.†


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NIO-MON†2021†Dit jaar hoop ik samen met kunstenaar†Sachi Miyachi†de aftrap voor de wederopbouw van de poort te geven door in November als artist-in-residents naar Yokota reizen om de Honmachi Kaikan te openen, de Delftsblauwe Nio een tijdelijke plek te geven en het hoe van het maken van een poort in kaart te brengen:†‘mapping a gate’.

Keep you posted!


Project NIO-MON is een kunstproject over het creŽren van een POORT (MON) in zowel fysieke als metaforische vorm. Het is de volgende stap in het succesvolle project ISSHO-NI / TOMO-NI dat in 2018 is gestart.†NIO_MON wordt ondersteund door het Nederlandse Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken, Stichting Dutch Culture, Stichting Iona, Stichting† NiomonNL, Global Bridges en 一般社団法人 NIO-MON Yokota en door jullie.†

—english—

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Niomon at Iwaya-ji, Yokota, Shimane ken, Japan

NIO-MON ††a gate to wisdom †

Amsterdam, July 2021

Jikke van Loon

An introduction

In 2007 the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam acquired two magnificent 14th century wooden Japanese temple guards that, for more than 700 years, stood in the temple gate (Niōmom) of the Iwaya-ji, a then prominent Buddhist temple in Shimane ken, Japan.

Shimane, the prefecture 'where 1000 gods gather once a year', was known as the Imperial rice barn, as the supplier of high-grade steel for Japanese swords and of silver (including for the Netherlands). The two temple guard statues now form a major attraction in the collection of the Rijksmuseum.†These A-gyo and UN-gyo represent the first and last syllables of the Siddham script and together they stand for all possible sounds and thus symbolise 'all knowledge, wisdom and compassion’. Standing in the gate they form a portal to this field of wisdom.

In 2015, Dutch artist Jikke van Loon, then working as Artist in Residence in Kyoto, traveled to the temple gate to say 'thank you' and to tell her the two temple guards (Niōzo) in Amsterdam are doing well and are taken good care of. In 2018 again, she travelled to Yokota with the idea to "bring back" the temple guards to their native village.

In the project Issho-ni/ Tomo-ni, (re-creating pure wisdom, Together!) the Niōzo were re-created in four life-size, 2.25 metres-high Delft Blue tile tableaux. Each of the 540 tiles had been hand painted by people in the Netherlands and Japan. The two temple guardians were not only literally brought back to Yokota, but by 'doing, together' it generated optimal involvement with 'Niō-ness' and each other's perception/worlds. The project was an opportunity to explore ways of looking at things, the ways of seeing and experiencing reality*.The temple guards had been reconstructed and brought back physically, mentally, emotionally and conceptually. But now; are the Niōzo 'back'?†


PROJECT NIO-MON 2021-2025

In project Issho-ni/ Tomo-ni, we succeeded in bringing the temple guards back to Yokota, but it was impossible to place them in the original location, their former house, Iwaya-ji's Niōmon. The gate is in a terrible condition and needs repair/ rebuilding. As a result, the inhabitants are still unable to walk 'the field of true wisdom' and the temple guards were not given the opportunity to regain their specific functionality: giving acces to and being guardians of the field of wisdom. Meanwhile an interest group has been formed to track down the owner of the land on which the current gate stands; after years of neglect, the area around the temple gate is now being cleaned regularly again, and the Yokota municipality recently laid a paved road to the temple gate.

Project NIO-MON wants focus on the realisation of a GATE, in both conceptual and physical way.†

Within this project, three notions of MON (Gate-ness) play a combined role: gate (temple gate), platform and portal are an attempt to simultaneously designate one and the same entity in three different manifestations. We want to focus on the creation of these 'MON' and examine how functionality can be returned to the temple guardians. NIO refers to a new (nio) mon, new temple guards (Niōzo) and of course refers to the Niōmon: a gate at the temple area and a house to Niōzo.

By rebuilding and reconstructing the Niōmon and building a NIO-MON we want to create both a Home to the Delft blue temple guards and a Portal between people of the Netherlands and Japan.

In this first year, Dutch and Japanese artists Jikke van Loon and Sachi Miyachi will collaborate and travel to Yokota in November 2021.


AIR Yokota 2021: Niōmon A Portal, A Home

In November 2021 the Honmachi Kaikan, provided by the people of Yokota, will be put into use. The aim is to work on a temporary gate (A Home) for the Delft Blue temple guardians and to open a Portal for the next five years. This temporary gate will physically consist of a construction in which the Niōzo will be given their temporary place and which will also function as a platform for meetings and the transfer of knowledge (A Portal). At the same time research will start on the original Niōmon and context: the temple gate on Iwaya-ji's temple area. During this AIR period of one month debates, workshops and meetings will be organised with the residents, visitors from the Netherlands and the artists. These dialogues and the resulting collective knowledge will be part of the overall development process and will determine the final physical manifestation of the NIO-MON in 2025.

After the AIR in Yokota, the artists will share their experiences in presentations/ Artist Talks in Tokyo, Kyoto and Amsterdam.

Both this temporary gate and the reconstructed gate will function as the new and reclaimed context for the temple guards and will restore the guards' autonomy.



Themes addressed in workshops, tours, talks, debate are:

What is a gate? How to build one (or two). What are temple guards? What makes them temple guards: the wood, the paint, the maker, the form, the location, the function? In other words: the material or the concept? Material or immaterial, the thought, memory, consciousness?

Are the temple guards here in Holland still temple guards, are they there in Yokota still temple guards? Is the gate there still the gate? Do these temple guards form a new gate? Are the temple guards returned to Yokota? Have they returned to Yokota?

What is 'the live of objects'? Do we live in a spirited world or inanimate. How do I and how do you relate to 'things' around?

What is 'another reality'? What does it feel like, another reality, another worldview? Is there such a thing as an absolute truth, is it possible that the sense of 'truth' is relative? Our consensus on reality seems to be different from Japan. But is it? Is our 'truth' a mental construct?


MORE INFORMATION:

2018-2020

Project Issho-ni / Tomo-ni, (re-creating pure wisdom Together!)†has generated great enthusiasm and involvement in the Netherlands as well as in Japan. With for example: the Municipality of Yokota, the Okuizumo Board of Education, who facilitated the project, the Board of the Rehabilitation Training Centre in Minari, whose students fired the tiles, the residents of Yokota who not only helped paint but also offered homestay to Dutch visitors, broadcasters such as NHK3, national newspapers like the Yomiuri and the local press, but also representatives of the Rijks Museum who came to Yokota and painted along, sponsors of the project: Hitachi, Royal Talens / Sakura Craypas, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, the Dutch Embassy in Japan and various other companies and foundations and of course the large group of participants. ... All these organisations and persons participated actively in the project in different ways.

A short movie that was shot by filmmaker Kiriko Mechanicus for Yahoo Japan was selected to be on the curriculum of all Japanese high schools. (movie JP or ENG sub.)

Part of this large, broad involvement is the renewed interest in the Iwayaji temple and the cultural heritage in this province that was certainly less in the spotlight in the second half of the 20th century. During the (re)discovery of this part of Japan, that harbours many hidden cultural treasures, and has old relations with the Netherlands, shows a completely different image of Japan, than for instance everyday Tokyo/ Osaka.

Shimane's glorious past is made clear by a good number of special features such as :

Izumo Taisha, (出雲大社, "Izumo Grand Shrine"), is one of the oldest and most important Shinto shrines in Japan. It is the place where //to = according to //lore //the 1000 most important gods //meet// every year (Kamuhakari).†

Tatara Steel in Yokota was the main supplier of the Tamagane steel used to make the vast majority of Japanese swords. The Yokota area was - and still is - the location where ferrous sand is mined and washed before being fired. Once a year, at the end of January / beginning of February, the furnace is fired.†

The Iwami Ginzan silver mine was the most important silver mine in the world around 1600, accounting for over 30% of world production. Since 2007, the mine has been on the Unesco World Heritage List, with a connotation to the Netherlands as well, as some of the silver was traded through Dejima.

In Shimane Prefecture other connections with the Netherlands can be found, such as in the Tsuwano museum, which not only has a collection of Dutch books, but where great attention is also paid to the philosopher and parliamentarian Amane Nishi who travelled to Leiden in 1863 with the Dutch doctor Dr. J. L. C. Pompe van Meerdervoort to study // political economy and diplomacy with Prof. Simon Vissering, partly due to the intercession of the first professor of Japanese, J.J. Hoffmann/. The time Nishi spent in Leiden has been of great influence on the introduction of western philosophy in Japan and the state-building of Japan according to the European model.

In Yokota there is great interest in either restoring the existing temple gate or building a new temple gate. With a renewed or new temple gate, it is expected that interest in the Iwayaji temple will also grow and the† wider area that is now devoid of visitors can reveal its history again Šnd that we all benefit by the mutual interest and widening of our scope.


ORGANISATION:

Initiative of artist Jikke van Loon

email: jikkevanloon@gmail.com

tel.: +31 6 53 42 38 31


In collaboration with:

NiomonFoundation NL

Chairman Radboud Molijn, Managing Director Global Bridges BV, Member RVC Yahama Motor Europe NV. Former member of International Franz Liszt Piano Competition and Tomoko Mukayama Foundation

Secretary Josha Sietsma, Teacher at Corderius College Amersfoort.

Treasurer Pier van Loon

Member Maarten Meurkens: www.broedplaatsbogota.nl

RVA Naoko Nizawa

RVA Kana Nakamoto

CVA Menno Fitski, Head Asian Department Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

CVA Emmy Verheij, violist


2021 Artists:

Jikke van Loon:†www.jikkevanloon.com

Sachi Miyachi:†www.sachimyachi.com


2021 Assistent Project coordinators:

Tomas Meurkens

Kisho Matsuo:†www.kisho-matsuo.com


GIA NIO-MON Yokota

Nizawa Naoko