I saw 1,000 toriis in Kyoto. Did you hear me, ONE THOUSAND TORIIS!! Going up the side of a mountain. Creating a tunnel of red, orange, pink and mauve through a forest of green and moss. UNREAL. This is DEFINITELY where Christo and Jean-Claude developed their idea for the Gates in Central Park. C’mon Christo, ‘fess up. And why not? It’s still a great idea to do it in New York, even if it was done in Kyoto hundreds of years ago. And all that business about it not meaning anything – well, I’ll tell you what it means. The torii are a gate to mark a sacred space in nature. It is thought to be derived from an ancient practice of tying a rope between two trees to mark off a place in the forest as holy. And what could be a more holy space in New York City than Central Park? Just ask any New Yorker spending August in the city. We need that sacred spot for our sanity!
Maybe it is just a coincidence that Christo created “the Gates” in New York and that some unknown artists built 1,000 gates – toriis – through the forests in Japan. People do tend to do the same things and experience the same emotions over time. I don’t know, either way, I loved it in New York and I loved it in Kyoto.