Main Hall (Kondo)

The Kondo, or Main Hall, at Horyuji Temple is the world’s oldest extant wooden structure and enshrines the temple’s most important treasures. It and the Five-storied Pagoda form the centerpiece of the temple’s Western Precinct. The artworks in the Main Hall include three canopies hanging from the ceiling adorned with phoenixes and celestial beings holding musical instruments from Central Asia. A seated statue of Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha), which was built in the likeness of Shotoku Taishi, is located under the central canopy is and flanked by two attendants.

A seated statue of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing and medicine, rests under the eastern canopy. This statue was installed in memory of Emperor Yomei, who had been suffering from illness. A statue of Amida Nyorai, the Buddha of the Pure Land, is located under the western canopy and is flanked by two attendants. This triad was installed to honor Shotoku’s mother, Empress Anahobe no Hashihito.

Statues of the Four Heavenly Kings (Shitenno)
Wooden images of a standing Kichijoten, deity of good fortune, and Bishamonten, deity of war and protector of the country stand alongside of Shaka Nyorai.

In addition, elaborate paintings once covered the walls of the Main Hall and depicted scenes of the Pure Land and images of bodhisattvas, but were damaged in a fire and removed for preservation. Reproductions based on the originals line the walls of the Main Hall today.

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