That chestnut crest's a nice find. Unfortunately its only source appears to be a tattoo website, but the name kuri no maru translates as it should - circle of chestnuts. I've found a kamon known as tsukini hoshi which features both a 'star' and crescent moon in roughly the same orientation, a close likeness to both the star and crescent of Islam and the original Gerudo emblem as well as to the mark of Farore.
Gerudo emblem - state emblem of Pakistan crescent - moon & star kamon
Din - Farore - Nayru
The crest of Yamamoto Tsunetomo featured on editions of his famous text Hagakure is similar to the emblem of the Zora, though it's composed not of crescents but of the the character 大 'large' repeated thrice, resulting in an image coincidentally similar to the modern biohazard symbol. This design is also similar to what seems to be a more modern kamon depicting three anchors in the same arrangement, ikari katabami.
Depiction of the three legged crow seems to extend beyond Korea. Even more universal is the association of birds with power and prestige leading to their use in national emblems. The image of the Garuda I used in my first post is actually Thailand's national emblem, a role that the mythical avian creature serves for the Republic of Indonesia as well.
For this next installment I've been writing, let's pick back up on the lines of my earlier narrative with the Silent Realm Guardians. Are they too robots? Skeletons? Ghosts?
Unlike the Lanayrubots that seem to have two round eyes, a triangular nose, and a round mouth, the Guardians seem to have a triangular mouth and three round eyes that form a triangle of their own. Their three red glowing eyes, each on one corner of a black triangle, is a design shared with Superman’s nemesis Brainiac and related villains such as the gynoid (robot) Brainiac 8:
I will hereafter refer to this design as the ocellar triangle, after the anatomical feature common to several insectile orders, a triad of simple eyes which allows the insect to differentiate degrees of light and dark.
The case of Braniac 8 is a little different than that of the Guardians in that this Titans/Young Justice character, as you can see, sports the triangle in addition to two human eyes. There is another robot in the DC universe however that bears an ocellar triangle without eyes otherwise. Though a very minor character from the DCAU, this cracked A.I. originates from the WB Kids series The Batman, sometimes seen as something of a spiritual successor to the popular Batman series inspired by the Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons (which many fans claim did not live up the legacy, similar to scenario with the spiritual successors of Ocarina of Time). The character’s name is D.A.V.E. and has clear influences from 2001: A Space Odyssey, another big name in the history of robotkind, if not a little one from Laputa by the different size lenses the robot has in its/his immotile computer form at the start of the episode which features it/him.
The three eyes do glow ominously red, but their overall orientation is rotated and the black lines connecting each in the triangle are not present (you may also notice a similarity with a certain loftwing Statue on Skyloft). This orientation is closer to that created with the addition of the mystical third eye of eastern spiritualism (which happened to have received its own treatment in another episode of the same series). Associated with the chakra of the brow, characters from the Zelda series including the fortune teller in Twilight Princess and the younger Impa in Skyward Sword bear the eye of the Shiekah on their foreheads in the form of a third eye. The eye of the Shiekah is, of course, very likely influenced by the eye of Horus judging by its tear drop, which is thought to have been originally inspired by the natural colors of the plumage below the eyes of the falcons worshiped by the Ancient Egyptians.
Other than the eyes there's not a whole lot more that can be said about the guardians beyond meaningless speculation. They dress in robes of white and gold (the colors of the Vatican) with a Celtic or Nordic looking trim and wear two gold triangles as jewelry (earrings for one and bracelets for the other). Overall, they may look a little more like poes than stalfos, but we may never know any more of their true identities than we do know. Perhaps these uncertainties allow us to manifest a xenophobia which may found much of their appeal to our perception of horror, successfully creating a scary enemy.
Seen here in the rotated third eye orientation, the circle-triangle trinity also appears in some kamon.
According to the source of the image, this kamon is known as “Maruni Mitsu Kagami”, which I surmise would be rendered まるに三つ鏡 and translate to ‘round three-mirror’ in reference to the circular bronze age mirrors iconic in Shinto. This in turn leads me to three corollaries.
1) Like the scale of the mitsu uroko of the Hojo clan, the mythical mirror (yata no kagami) is one member of a holy trinity associated with the emperor’s divine lineage.
2) As all fans of Okami should know, this god-gifted triad of holy objects known as the Imperial Regalia of Japan also includes a sacred bead and sword.
3) Incarnations of all three - A) mirror, B) bead, C) sword - have been strongly associated with mystical qualities at multiple points throughout the Zelda series.
A) The Mirror of Twilight is quite blatantly modeled after the type of bronze mirror I mentioned earlier, called Shinjūkyō (神獣鏡) for the designs depicting dragons and other mythical creatures that originally came to Japan by China, as did the mirror design itself. The Mirror of Twilight accordingly features two such beasts on the reverse.
The mirror is most deserving of its place in the holy trinity as the central object of the most seminal Shinto myth, the Kojiki's account of the day that sun goddess Amaterasu sealed herself away in a cave thereafter known as Ama no Iwato.
B) The bead has a smaller role in the myth but, just like the mirror, is associated with a uniquely shaped form of the object from ancient times. This is a screenshot I took from one of Skyward Sword's earliest gameplay trailers last September.
Although they may look like they're taken from the logos of io9, the amber and dusk relics share the distinct shape of ancient Japanese beads known as magatama (勾玉). It's true that not even the foremost scholars of the field know exactly why magatama are shaped like this. When the shape is used in kamon, they're called tomoe (巴), but it's not entirely clear what inspired either of them, including which one may be modeled after the other. Beads of this form are thought to have been unique to Japan until reproduced in Korea as gogok, while the shape has spread across Asia forming round kamon-like compounds from the mitsudomoe of Japan and taeguk of Korea to the taijitu of China and gankyil of Tibet. Another Zelda example, the Spirit Medallion features two conjugate tomoe, a kamon of futatsudomoe (二つ巴).
Jade magatama for comparison:
C) Unlike the bead and mirror for which I have examples from newer games, the sacred sword has had a larger, more consistent, and single role in Zelda for far longer. Yup, it's the Master Sword, for the sacred blade of Shinto myth plays roughly the same monomythic role as Excalibur of Arthurian legend so often compared to the Master Sword. If you're interested in the details, I highly recommend the fantastic article you can download here
which I believe was published in 2008 and covers the influence of Shinto in older Zelda lore, especially a few notable similarities between the Imperial Regalia and some of the items and equipment in A Link to the Past
While I was looking into gankyil for writing about tomoe, I came across this image on the wikipedia page:
The wheel of this bhavacakra is held up by a demon apparently based on the Tibetan Buddhist depiction of the Hindu lord of death, Yama. The design is similar to the Earth Temple demon by its third eye and to the face at the top of some arches (like the one in the first room of the Earth Temple that lowers a drawbridge from its nostrils) by the small skulls above the face. Here's the best image I could find for the first, though the actual carving seems to be fallen apart ingame:
And the arala mudra, which apparently denotes violent wind or drinking poison or nectar, for comparison:
And an image of the second which shows the (asymmetrically distributed) skulls pretty clearly:
Yet more colossal carvings in the Earth Temple take the form of dragons, but I'll be saving these mythical reptile statues along with the three province-naming dragons for my next addition.