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Objects of Worship and Shrine Treasures


Emaki

A kind of scroll composed of an illustrated narrative that unfolds as the scroll is unrolled. The origins of emaki are unknown, but they were produced as early as the late Heian period, and they assumed their present form from the twelfth century. The term emaki apparently dates to the Tokugawa per...

Jingū taima

Shrine amulets distributed throughout Japan by the Grand Shrines of Ise. The work of the priests called oshi in spreading the cult of the Grand Shrines nationwide began from the end of the Heian period and continued through the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, reaching its height in the Edo period. ...

Kagami

Mirror. A device that reflects an image using the reflective property of its surface. Mirrors may be made of copper, silver, iron, jewels, or glass, and can be found in many different designs, including round, square, elliptical, "eight-petal hollyhock" (hakkōkyō ), "eight-arch" (hachiry...

Kamidana

A household Shinto altar, a facility for the conduct of domestic rites within a home, in which amulets of the kami, an "apportioned spirit" (bunrei) of the kami, and similar items may be enshrined. The place chosen for installation of the kamidana should be clean, well-lighted, and quiet, in a loca...

Mandara

Transliteration of the Sanskrit mandala, objects originally of Buddhist origin created to express fundamental doctrines or concepts. As a pictorial phenomenon, mandala were used in Buddhist ritual sites, particularly as decorative depictions of the beatific scenes of Paradise. Based on the signific...

Mitamaya

A place or facility for enshrining the spirits of ancestors or noble persons; also called otamaya or reibyō. Ancient domestic rites were observed with the fourth- (or second-) month ritual of kinensai (spring festival), and the eleventh-month harvest festival of niinamesai, at which times ance...

Shichishitō

A sword passed down as a divine treasure (shinpō) in the treasury of Isonokami Jingū. Originally housed in the shrine and treated as an object of worship, the sword was displayed in the shrine's Divine Procession (shinkōsai) called the "Divine Procession of Swords" held annually on t...

Shinboku, Shinju

Literally, "divine tree," a tree regarded as sacred, as the symbol of sacred territory or a place in which the kami dwell. When viewed in this way, the cutting or polluting of such trees is avoided. On the other hand, in some cases the term is used to denote the lumber dedicated for building shrine...

Shinpō

Also read kamudakara, a general name for shrine treasures, but also referring more specifically to objects found in a shrine's inner sanctum and intimately related to the enshrined kami (saijin), or to those objects that are renewed on the occasion of the shrine's rebuilding, such as decorations or...

Shinsatsu, Mamorifuda

Shinsatsu are a type of thaumaturgic talisman (also known as gofu) distributed at shrines and considered symbols of a spiritual being or its supranormal power. Shinsatsu may be made of wood, paper, or metal, and bear a written or printed inscription; the term is generally used to refer to the relat...

Shintai

A physical object serving as an object of worship at shrines, and in which the spirit of the kami is believed to reside. Those used in Shrine Shinto (Jinja Shintō) are frequently called mitamashiro. Shintai are typically mirrors, swords, and jewels, although ritual wands (gohei) and sculptures...

Shinza

The place within a shrine where symbols of the kami (mitamashiro; see also shintai) are enshrined. In Shrine Shinto a building is constructed as a place to worship the kami, and within that building a shinza is established, decorated in a manner appropriate for a dwelling of the kami, and furnished...

Shinzō

Wooden images of kami carved from the end of the Nara period under the influence of Buddhist culture and in imitation of Buddhist sculpture. The trend toward the identification of Buddhas with indigenous kami (shinbutsu shūgō) increased from the Heian period, and statues of honji-butsu (B...

Statistics for the Distribution of Amulets from the Grand Shrines of Ise

The number of Ise amulets distributed nationwide, and the proportion of all households enshrining them reached a peak in 1943. The total number distributed fell rapidly with the end of the war, but gradually increased thereafter. On the other hand, the proportion of households enshrining Ise amulet...

Tokusanokamudakara

  Also read jusshu jinpō. According to the "original record of the heavenly grandchild" (Tenson hongi) in Sendai kuji hongi, these were the "ten kinds of heavenly-emblem sacred treasures" (amatsushirushi mizutakara tokusa) bestowed by the "heavenly ancestor" (amatsu mioya) on Nigihayahi no mikot...

Yorishiro

The place (or object or person) inhabited by a kami's spirit when it descends for a religious ceremony or when possessing a person. Yorishiro may be natural objects such as trees or rocks, or implements prepared for use in rituals, such as pillars, banners, or ritual emblems called gohei. In those ...





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