TIGER GODS #1: DURGA - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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When we were designing the Fall-Winter 2013 collection, we spent so much time staring at eyes, making our eye prints and embroideries just right and obsessing over the possibilities of everything we could cover in eyes. At one point, like Yayoi Kusama and her polka dots, we had a moment where we started to see eyes covering everything, including our dreams. We soon learned that seeing eyes in dreams meant more than just that we were having too much fun with our new collection; after reading a few dream interpretation books, we learned that the eyes were telling us about ourselves, our subconscious life, and our relationships with other people.
 

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Seeing your own two eyes in a dream is said to happen while unconscious thoughts are coming to the surface, but if you dream about getting something in your eye it means there is something hindering you from doing what you need to do. If in your dream you only have one eye, it can indicate that you are being close-minded to a view-point aside from your own. But if you're lucky enough to have a third eye in your dream, it of course shows your insightfulness.


If you see disembodied, floating eyes, according to different interpretations, it indicates either that someone is watching you with their sights set on taking your position, or, preferably, that good luck is coming your way. If the eyes are large it more specifically indicates good luck in money, but if they are dark and mysterious, you'll have good luck in romance. Of course, dream interpretation is subjective and when interpreting your own dreams it's important to note the symbolism of the context and to keep in mind what eyes mean to you personally, and just remember: eyes are a window to the soul, so we recommend looking deep inside them if you happen upon them in your dreams!

The American one-dollar bill is a goldmine for conspiracy theorists. Its many symbols make for a variety of obscure interpretations worthy of The Da Vinci Code. 

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On the reverse of the bill –flanking the word “One” and the motto “In God We Trust”– are two circles enclosing the reverse and obverse of the Great Seal of the United States. The Seal is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the US federal government. A bald eagle –bird of prey and symbol of the United States– clasping an olive branch and 13 arrows in its talons, is depicted on the right-hand side and shows the reverse of the seal. On the left, is the obverse of the Seal: an unfinished pyramid, the symbol of an ongoing process of nation building. The pyramid is topped by an eye within a triangle that radiates light. This is the Eye of Providence, also known as the “all-seeing eye”, a Christian symbol of God watching over Humankind (although some see it as a reference to the Freemasons or the Illuminati). An all-seeing eye, painted by Le Barbier in 1789, also features on France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. 

Though the eye has been used as a symbol in many different times and cultures with many meanings, there often seems to be a certain implicit mystery in disembodied eye symbols - no one can tell who, exactly, is behind those eyes watching you. Like in a classic haunted house when the eyes on the painting start to move, we don't know whether the being behind the eye is good or for evil but we definitely feel suspicious - those eyes are seeing everything.
   

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That is perhaps part of the spirit in which the eye was adopted as a symbol for the Freemasons, an organization known for its long history and it's extreme secrecy - and as a result, the multitude of conspiracy theories about the organizations beliefs, formation, and influence. Though the organization claims to prohibit discussion of politics and religion at its meetings, it is thought that Freemasons must declare their belief in an ambiguous "Supreme Being" in order to be accepted into the organization. The eye symbol is thought to signify this supreme being, a la the all-seeing eye. However, some conspiracy theorists see the eye more as indicative of the influence Freemasonry has on the world, with the all-seeing eye watching over everything and everyone. The use of the Eye of Providence in the United States seal was thought to be proof of the Freemasons control over the formation of the United States, though that is now thought to be false, as no one who designed the government seal was Masonic and the masons claim to never use the all-seeing eye coupled with a pyramid as it appears on the United States seal. No matter the Freemasons beliefs, their esoteric nature and use of the eye symbol has made them the target of many of the most popular conspiracy theories today.

It is thought that no other culture in history has revered the eye as a symbol and used it more in its art and iconography than that of ancient Egypt.

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Even aside from the Eye of Horus, perhaps the most well-known of all Egyptian symbols, ancient Egypt was filled with eyes: eyes as gods and goddesses, eyes as the sun and the moon, eyes as mathematical figures, and as the symbol of the simultaneously destructive and nourishing floods.
While the Eye of Horus is considered the left eye, representing the moon, the right eye is called the Eye of Re (or "Eye of Ra"), and, opposite Horus, represents the the Sun God Ra. It is shown as a yellowish-red circle, appearing like the sun and carrying the powers of light, heat, and fire, but hiding its true power as the eye of a God. Because of this it was commonly appeared in statues, floating over the heads of Gods and Pharaohs,  as well as in amulets that ordinary people could use for protection, in life as well as in the after-life. But because of the sun's destructive power, the eye is also seen as a dangerous symbol and is manifested in many dangerous gods and goddesses that are not easy to befriend and whose power is not easy to pacify.

The Eye of Providence is one of the most commonly seen eye symbols in the world.

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Instantly recognizable in the western world, it's usually thought to represent the all-seeing Eye of God, watching over the world. Originally depicted simply as an eye appearing in the sky, often surrounded by clouds and rays of light, it is thought to have been adopted from the Egyptian Eye of Horace. It soon evolved from eye-in-the-sky into it's most recognizable form,  surrounded by a triangle. In Christianity the three points of the triangle usually represent the Holy Trinity, but the triangle can also be seen as all or part of a pyramid, signifying strength and unity, with the eye watching over those necessary qualities. There are many examples to be seen in modern use, such as on the United States one-dollar bill, where it's pictured as the final piece of an incomplete pyramid, or radiating across the Estonian 50 krooni bill. The Eye of Providence was long used as a symbol among Freemasons, and because of this and it's use in the United States government, it has long been the subject and evidence of many conspiracy theories.

Last season our collection brought you into the midst of the asian jungle, touring the animal rulers and human explorers within. This season we're exploring the skies, the asian gods, and their earthly temples, including clouds in the day and night, cloud-hopping tigers, and aerodynamic pilots. This month on the KENZO blog we'll take you to meet some of our favorite tiger- and tiger-riding- gods and goddesses and the cultures they've influenced.


 

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When it comes to tigers of legend, the gorgeous white tiger is perhaps the most revered. And it's easy to see why: the white tiger is easily one of the most awe-inducing animals, so deeply linked to the mystical it's almost like seeing a phoenix or a dragon in real life. During the Chinese Han Dynasty, when the tiger was believed to be the king of the animal kingdom (not the lion), it was thought that tigers would only turn white when they turned 500 years old.


Its white color aligned it with the element metal in and the power of the western direction, in the Chinese Five Elements. Because of this, the white tiger is seen as the guardian of the west and plays a large part in fengshui, playing its influence on the west side of houses and temples for protection. Tigers, and white tigers especially, are seen as powerful protectors, and white jade, which is known as "tiger jade", has long been used to protect soldiers and armies, and is often buried with the dead in order to protect them from demons in their graves. In traditional Korean beliefs it is said that the appearance of a white tiger has great influence over people who witness it, turning greedy people generous and selfish people humble.

Last season, our collection brought you into the midst of the asian jungle, touring the animal rulers and human explorers within. This season we're exploring the skies, the asian gods, and their earthly temples, including clouds in the day and night, cloud-hopping tigers, and aerodynamic pilots. This month on the KENZO blog we'll take you to meet some of our favorite tiger- and tiger-riding- gods and goddesses and the cultures they've influenced.

 

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The shachihoko is a legendary Japanese animal with the head of a tiger and the body of a fish. It is famous for it's power over the rain, calling it at will. Because of this it was used on many traditional Japanese castles and temples, which were mostly made of wood. The shachihoko were adorned on either end of the main roof pole on the highest point of the roof, with the beam going into the shachihoko's mouth, and the fish tail going high into the air. This position was believed to allow it to call rain in case of a fire in the mostly wooden buildings, that would otherwise be defenseless. Japanese temples also often have tiger statues at their gates, with their backs to the temple and their faces treating visitors and scaring away evil.

Last season our collection brought you into the midst of the asian jungle, touring the animal rulers and human explorers within. This season we're exploring the skies, the asian gods, and their earthly temples, including clouds in the day and night, cloud-hopping tigers, and aerodynamic pilots. This month on the KENZO blog we'll take you to meet some of our favorite tiger- and tiger-riding- gods and goddesses and the cultures they've influenced.

 

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Like in China, in Korea the tiger is traditionally seen as the divine spirit that guards the West. Stone tiger statues were also used to protect royal tombs from evil spirits in ancient Korea. The tiger is seen as a creature of great courage and insurmountable power, famously untamable. In one legend, a tiger and a bear came to Dangun, the mythical creator of the first Korean kingdom, wishing to become human beings. The bear was able to become a woman by meditating on Dangun's teachings in a cave for 100 days, but not even the tiger himself could keep his power at bay for that long, and he ran off into the mountains over which he still continues to rule.

Last season our collection brought you into the midst of the asian jungle, touring the animal rulers and human explorers within. This season we're exploring the skies, the asian gods, and their earthly temples, including clouds in the day and night, cloud-hopping tigers, and aerodynamic pilots. This month on the KENZO blog we'll take you to meet some of our favorite tiger- and tiger-riding- gods and goddesses and the cultures they've influenced.
 

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The tiger is one of the most important and most common symbols in traditional Chinese art and religion. One of the most popular gods in China, the Taoist God of Wealth, Tsai Shen Yeh, is often seen riding a tiger, similarly to the Hindu Goddess Durga, harnessing the tiger's strength to help it protect his followers wealth and lives. The tiger is believed to be the king of the animals and the mountains (sorry lions), and because of this tigers in traditional Chinese art are often drawn with three stripes on their forehead, depicting the character for king 王 . The tiger is a one of the four cardinal creatures, along with the Black Tortoise of the North, Green Dragon of the East, and Vermillion Bird of the South, representing the West, making an integral part of feng shui, playing his part in Chinese building designs. Tiger Gods are also one to be feared Taoist beliefs: in late winter when the animals are waking up from hibernation, paper tigers are set in front of temples and given food offerings to appease the ferocious Tiger God, hungry from his long sleep.

 

 

Last season our collection brought you into the midst of the asian jungle, touring the animal rulers and human explorers within. This season we're exploring the skies, the asian gods, and their earthly temples, including clouds in the day and night, cloud-hopping tigers, and aerodynamic pilots. This month on the KENZO blog we'll take you to meet some of our favorite tiger- and tiger-riding- gods and goddesses and the cultures they've influenced.

 

read more

The Hindu Goddess Durga is one of the most powerful Goddesses in Hinduism, being an incarnation of Devi, the female side of the divine. She is usually depicted as having either ten or eighteen arms, all holding weapons to protect herself and her followers from all directions. She's seen as the great protector, defending her worshippers from evil and dispelling their misery. As Hindu Gods and Goddesses are usually depicted with symbolic props, like vehicles and weapons, Durga also has her favored mode of transportation. Especially in Bengali depictions of her, her favored mode of transportation is, of course, the tiger. Her ability to ride a tiger demonstrates her mastery of all the tiger's best qualities, including power, will and determination, making her the most powerful protecting Goddesses in Hinduism.