1,200 Whimsical Stone Statues At Buddhist Temple in Kyoto

Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan that features over 1,200 stone figures representing Rakan, or disciples of Shaka (the founder of Buddhism), that were mostly carved by amateurs from across the country under the guidance of sculptor Kocho Nishimura. Each sculpture adds a lighthearted element to the spiritual setting with its unique array of expressive faces.

Only a little more than 30 years ago, in 1981, the first figurative sculpture donation allowed the present temple, a replica of the old structure constructed in the middle of the eighth century, to become famous for its comical characters.

Now, despite being covered in moss, their beaming features and expressive motions can still be seen. Even in the dead of winter, when the little stone bodies are covered in snow, the gleefully animated forms are discernible.

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