Category: religion

Bronze statue of Guan Yu, a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. After he died in 220 CE his deeds entered popular folklore. Guan Yu was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty (581–618 CE) and also became considered a bodhisattva. Today he is god of war, loyalty, and righteousness. This bronze statue dates to the Ming Dynasty, 1400s – 1500s CE.

Even after Japan began its formal policy of isolationism in 1639, the Dutch continued to be allowed to trade through the port of Nagasaki. They were notably… pliable… traders. Basically, the Dutch would do whatever was needed to maintain good relations and keep trading flowing. For example:

“…In 1640 a Dutch trading party was allowed to stay [in Nagasaki] after the expulsion of the Spanish and Portuguese. The ‘Hollanders’ assured their hosts of the relative pliancy of their brand of Christianity, demonstrating their good Protestant faith by firing a few shells at the Japanese Catholics huddled in Hara Castle.”
Their actions meant that the Dutch had exclusive access to Nagasaki for over a century. Japan also kept trading relations open with their much closer neighbors the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Korea, and Russia through the ports of Satsuma, Tsushima and Matsumae (respectively).

ANCIENT PERSIAN RELIGION: 

ANCIENT Persian religion was a polytheistic faith which corresponds roughly to what is known today as ancient Persian mythology. It first developed in the region known as Greater Iran (the Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, and West Asia) but became focused in the area now known as Iran at some point around the 3rd millennium BCE. This region was already inhabited by the Elamites and the people of Susiana whose beliefs are thought to have influenced the later development of Persian religion.

The Persians arrived as part of a large-scale migration which included a number of other tribes who referred to themselves as Aryans (denoting a class of people, not a race, and essentially meaning “free” or “noble”) and included Alans, Bactrians, Medes, Parthians, Scythians, and others. The Persians settled near the Elamites in Persis (also given as Parsa, modern Fars), which is where their name comes from, and religious rituals were instituted shortly after.

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In Laconia, the district around Sparta, and specifically in Maina, now Mani Peninsula, the inaccessible middle finger of the Peloponnese, there were people who worshipped the Greek gods until the 800s CE.

They finally began converting to Christianity under Byzantine Emperor Basil I (867–886 CE). However they were still having to be re-converted for generations, which we know because the Orthodox preacher (and eventual saint) Nikon the Metanoeite did missionary work in Maina around the 950s.

Dancers perform a Lakhon play. This is a Thai genre of dance-drama, where stories are told through dance. Lakhons may illustrate the Hindu epic Ramakien,
the stories of the Hindu god Krishna, ancient Buddhist Jataka stories, or folk-tales.

The Tiwanaku state dominated the Andean highlands for centuries yet we know very little about them. What we do know comes from their archaeological remains. They appear to have developed in the Lake Titicaca region, and at their peak, they may have only numbered 10,000 to 20,000 people.

Recent underwater excavations near the lake’s Island of the Sun reveal ritual offerings made by the Tiwanaku centuries before the Island of the Sun was converted into a major Incan pilgrimage site. The finds include puma-shaped incense burners with fragments of charcoal present on the excavated deposits, and a number of gold, shell, and stone ornaments. They date from the 700s to the 900s CE. And they were, intriguingly, found near anchors – like the offerings had been deliberately weighed to drift the bottom of the lake.

This may be a female shaman.
This fragment of an earthenware vessel inscribed with a possible drawing of
a woman shaman wearing a bird costume was uncovered in western Japan at
Shimizukaze, a site dating to the middle of the Yayoi Period, around
100 BCE.

Nineteen other earthen vessels inscribed with human figures with
outstretched arms have been unearthed across Japan, but this is the
first to appear to have breasts.
Her eyes, nose, mouth, and one arm with five fingers are also visible on
the fragment, which measures just 5 inches by 6.5 inches.

Did you know that Christ the Redeemer, the iconic statue that looms over Rio de Janeiro, was finished in 1931? The 130-foot reinforced concrete-and-soapstone statue sits atop the peak of the 700-meter (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park.

The statue cost approximately US$250,000 to build. That’s 3.5 million in today’s dollars. It was built mainly on donations, too. So thank goodness the project was started in 1922, giving them plenty of time to raise donations before the Great Depression hit!

Rāgarāja, also known as Aizen-Myōō, one of the five Wisdom Kings of Buddhist tradition. He has a fearsome appearance, all red, with a third eye and flaming wild hair.

Japan, Kamakura-Nambokuchô period, 1300s.