Walter S. Arnold, Sculptor/Stone Carver: Classically trained in Italy. Custom hand-carved stone sculpture. Made in the USA and Italy.

Walter S. Arnold Sculptor/Stonecarver: Classically trained in Italy. Custom hand-carved stone sculpture. Made in the USA and Italy.Classically trained in Italy. Custom, hand-carved, stone sculpture. Made in the USA and Italy.    Call for an estimate:  (847) 568-1188  or


The Gargoyle News #32, Feb. 1, 2002

Happy Valentines Day! Remember, you can send gargoyle postcards in advance,
so you can start preparing them now for delivery on Valentines Day! I've added
a Valentine's version of the Dolce Mio (My Sweet) card, at

My wife just returned from a trip to the Philippines. On her way to
Honolulu, she had an 8 hour layover at Narita International Airport
in Japan. We went on-line to look for something interesting she
could do, and hit the jackpot with the discovery of the Naritasan
Shinshoji Temple. This huge complex, founded in the year 940 A.D.,
is just a half hour from the airport. We found the
Temple website,  and saw that it was a beautiful place with many unusual buildings
and sculptures, and a large park. You can see some of the sculpture
in the Naritasan Gallery section of that site.

We sent an e-mail to inquire about the possibility of visiting,
and were put in touch with Mr. Masao Saito, the chief of the
English volunteers. He was very gracious, and sent us information
on train schedules. He met my wife at the Rest House across from the
Temple, where they had a cup of Japanese green tea. He then took
her on a personal guided tour.

In the main hall of the Temple stands a statue of Fudo-myoo
god (the God of Fire) carved by the great monk, Kobo-daishi,
in the year 810 A.D., and it was moved to Naritasan in 940.
Fudo-myoo, one of the popular Buddhist deities, is fierce-looking
with a sword and a rope in his hands and a wreath of flames
rising behind him. The sword cuts away hindrances of passion
and false knowledge, and the rope is used to draw beings
closer to Enlightenment. To demons he is terror, but to the
faithful he is the remover of anxieties, banisher of evil and
savior from oppression. Unfortunately, it was too dark for my
wife to take a good photo of this sculpture, but we do have
two other photos for you to see at
The upper photo shows an strong and expressive grotesque
creature. This is one of ten demon gods that support a giant
octagonal rotating prayer wheel.

Before entering the Temple, you start with a ritual cleansing
of the body by washing your hands and mouth at a font guarded
by a dragon. The second photo on my page shows Mr. Saito performing
the ritual just described. Next you go up the steps and then
cleanse your spirit by tossing small pieces of incense and allowing
the smoke come to you. The daily Goma rite is celebrated at
3 o'clock sharp every day in the Great Main Hall. During this
service you can give your important belongings to be blessed by
the priest. This is the most important of all Temple services.
In another building, the Buddha Hall, there is a service to
bless and protect people during the dangerous ages of their
lives. For men these dangerous ages are 25, 42 and 60. For
women the dangerous ages are 19 and 33.
Upon finishing her tour, my wife walked back along Omote-sando
street to the train station to go to the airport. This busy shopping
street is a beautiful and very clean, with many stores and
food shops. She did a little shopping there, and tasted some
of the delicacies. I'm sure you'll agree that her visit to
Naritasan was a lot more exciting that sitting in the airport
waiting room for eight hours!

I hope to get a get a good photo to show you of Fudo-myoo
together with more information about Naritasan in time for the
next newsletter. In the mean time, have a warm and shady
Groundhog Day and make your plans for Valentines Day!

You can read more issues online:

Issue 7        Mythology of gargoyles, the Zoroastrian Farohar
Issue 10      Why sculpt gargoyles? Notre Dame and Toronto gargoyles
Issue 32     
Narita, Japan
Issue 33      Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, Valentines gargoyles
Issue 51     
Stonecarvers Guild, New York Gargoyles, Frank Lloyd Wright Fountain
Issue 68     
Dublin, My new studio, Jackson Park Bridge, student questions, wedding registry
Issue 81      Aurora Dream Cycles Show, Almora B&B, Emperor Trajan, Facebook
  Special pages created to accompany newsletter issues:
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Antique Italian Cars
Architectural vandalism
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Calvary Cemetery
Carving the Indiana Museum gargoyles
Des Moines, Iowa
Dublin, Ireland
Gargoyle Tattoos
Jackson Park Animal Bridge
Las Vegas
My New Studio
Orvieto, Italy
Prague, Czech Republic
San Diego, Balboa Park
Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy
Volterra Italy
Zimbabwe Sculpture in Atlanta

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