Kon-do: Main Hall

Kon-do, borrowed from the official Chinese Ninna-ji blog

I mentioned Kon-do in an earlier post about hajitomi (the distinctive lattice shutters on Kon-do, Shinden, and Mie-do), but today I will be offering more background on the main hall of the temple.

Originally built in 1613, Kon-do served as a hall for state ceremonies (shishinden 紫宸殿) at the imperial palace. In the 17th century Kon-do was given to Ninna-ji during the reconstruction of the temple. Kon-do was taken apart at the imperial palace and reconstructed on the temple grounds during the Kan’ei Era. The temple’s principle image of Buddha, the Amida Triad (Amida Buddha and two attendant deities) made by Unsetsu was enshrined within Kon-do in 1644, the same year construction was completed. There were relatively few changes made to the building during its reconstruction; the shingle roof was replaced with tiles and an altar was constructed inside, but other aristocratic architectural elements such as the latticed shutters (hajitomi) remain. Kon-do is 12.6m (41.3ft) across and 9m (29.5ft) deep with a hip-gable roof.  As the oldest building of its style still in existence today, Kon-do has been designated a national treasure of Japan.

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