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Ritual Implements and Vestments


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An

A table-like platform used during ceremonies for holding heihaku, shinsen, tamagushi, and other ritual implements. An may also be called heihaku an, shinsen an, and tamagushi an to distinguish their specific purposes. Various styles and sizes are used, and they may have four, eight, or sixteen legs...

Chinowa

Also called suganuki, a large ring made of cogon grass (chigaya) and erected on the pathway leading to a shrine on the days of purification (harae) of the last day of the sixth or seventh month (called nagoshi harae or minazuki harae). Worshipers at the shrine pass through the ring as an act of pur...

Daikaku

Also called mokurokudai,a type of oshiki tray with integral feet used for presenting offerings (heihaku or shinsen), but with a size of eight sun (about 24 centimeters) square. According to the rules for ritual procedure established by the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō), heihaku ...

Dashi

A float decorated with variously shaped objects (spear, mountain, human images, etc.), and carried or drawn on wheels to the accompaniment of festive music (hayashi). The name dashi is said to have originated in the fact that the upper part of the float's central "spear" (hoko) is a plaited bamboo ...

Eboshi

One type of headdress worn by Shinto priests (shinshoku) during ritual ceremonies. Originally a headdress worn to indicate a man who had passed his "coming of age" ceremony (genpuku), the eboshi evolved into heavily lacquered and other various formalized types from the late Heian period; from the e...

Entō

Also read shioyu, the liquid produced by dissolving rock salt in water, and used in the preparatory purifications (shubatsu) preceding ritual worship. Salt water is also considered an indispensable element in the performance of groundbreaking rites (jichinsai) and certain other rites. Customarily e...

Gohei

A kind of ritual wand; one type of heihaku, also called heisoku. Originally gohei were identical to cloth offerings called mitegura, but the term gradually came to be used in today's more narrow sense. Gohei are made by attaching zig-zag strips of gold, silver, white or multicolored (five-color) pa...

Hizatsuki

A type of mat used when kneeling in shrine worship. Originally used as a mat when kneeling in an outdoor courtyard for official court functions, the hizatsuki was later adopted for use indoors; the mats called komo or tatami were also sometimes used instead. Today found in shrine rites, hizatsuki a...

Katashiro

A physical object used as emblem of the presence of a spirit in rites of worship. The term also refers to an object representing the human figure (hitogata or nademono), used in rites of purification (misogi or harae) to represent the subject of the rite, in which case the subject rubs the object o...

Komo

Also called aragomo or makomo, a fabric mat woven from the straw of wild rice (makomo) and used in ritual, normally as a mat under an offering table (shinsen an) or tamagushi table (tamagushi an). Such mats may also be used to form a carpeted path during the removal (sengyo) of a shrine's kami from...

Nigite

Also called nigitahe, one type of heihaku, namely white cloth or unwoven threads of flax (asa), paper mulberry (yū ), or silk offered to the kami. According to the divine age chapters of Kojiki, when Amaterasu hid herself in the heavenly rock cave, Amenokoyane no mikoto used a number of ritual...

Ōgi

Originally a fan for cooling oneself, in Shinto ritual used as an accessory to ritual vestments. Unlike the flat and rigid uchiwa, the folding ōgi was invented in Japan, and is found in two main types, the hiōgi made of thin overlapping slats of Japanese cypress (hinoki), and the kawahori...

Ōnusa

An honorific for the more common nusa, a ritual purification wand. Wands presented when invoking the kami or when exorcising sins or imperfections (tsumi) were called nusa, and made primarily from the inner bast of paper mulberry (yū), fibers of flax (asa), and later, from woven fabrics and pa...

Oshiki

Originally a square serving tray for holding food, the oshiki is made of thin pieces of Japanese cypress (hinoki) or other wood, and used in the presentation of ritual offerings (shinsen or heihaku). Today they are mainly known as forming the upper part of the platform tray called sanbō. Usual...

Sakaki

Cleyera japonica, an evergreen tree whose branches are used in Shinto ritual, for example, as offering wands (tamagushi) presented before a kami. When presented as tamagushi, it is usual to attach paper streamers (shide) to the branch. Branches of sakaki are also used for decoration, purification i...

Sanbō

A platform tray used in ritual to hold offerings (shinsen). Originally used for making offerings to high nobility or to one's lord, the sanbō is composed of a simple wooden tray (oshiki) on a four-sided stand. The name sanbō is said to take its name from the fact that the platform has per...

Seisō, Reisō, Jōsō

Three grades of clerical vestments. In contemporary times the formal seisō is worn at "major festivals" (taisai); the ritual reisō is worn at "intermediate festivals" (chūsai), and the everyday jōsō is worn at "regular festivals" (shōsai). Vestments for male and female...

Shaku

A ritual baton or scepter. While normally read "kotsu," the character is read in Shinto as "shaku" due to a desire to avoid associations with a different character "kotsu" meaning "bone." The shaku was originally a baton held in the right hand by court nobles when wearing formal attire (sokutai),...

Shide

One type of heihaku, formed by attaching flowing strips of paper or cloth (particularly yū, rough cloth made from the bast fibers of paper mulberry) to a sprig of sakaki, a staff, or a sacred border rope (Shimenawa). Although yū was formerly used, most shide today are made of paper. A va...

Shimenawa

A straw rope hung before or around a site to demarcate sacred or pure space, such as before the inner sanctuary of a shrine, entrance to a shrine precinct, or a ritual site. Numerous orthographic character combinations are used with the reading shimenawa, including ޻("1-5-3") and ޻ ("7-...



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