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Offerings and Talismans


Ema

Votive tablets bearing illustrations of horses or other scenes offered at shrines, temples, wayside shrines and chapels, as emblems of wishes or vows, or as expression of thanks. Types of ema range from large, framed pictures produced by professional painters, to smaller pictures painted by unknown...

Engimono

The term engi is the abbreviation of a longer term of Buddhist origin, innen shōki (Skt. pratītyasamutpāda, or "co-dependent origination"), but by extension it came to refer to narratives regarding the historical "origins" and miraculous tales of temples and shrines, or the written d...

Hamaya

Literally, "demon-breaking arrow," a decorative arrow sold at shrines at New Year's to ward off misfortune and to attract good luck. Hamaya are popular among New Year's visitors to shrines as one type of good-luck charm or engimono. From the Edo to the early Meiji period, hamaya were given as gifts...

Hatsuho

Literally, "first rice ears " namely, rice offered to the kami as the "first fruits" of the autumn harvest. Also found written and . Originally hatsuho referred to ears of plucked (cut) rice, tied in bunches and hung up as an offering. At the Grand Shrines of Ise, a ritual cutting of ...

Heihaku

Also called mitegura or heimotsu, in its broadest sense a general term for offerings made to the kami. Mitegura is said to carry the meaning of "full storehouse," but in classic works such as Kojiki, Nihongi, and Kōgoshūi we also find the term expressed as hei, shinpei, and gohei. Eulogis...

Ikenie

A kind of offering (shinsen) in which a living animal is presented to the kami. A few such living offerings are still found at present, including the white chickens of the Grand Shrines of Ise, but according to Engishiki, a variety of animals were offered in ancient times, including white boars, wh...

Jingūreki

A calendar (koyomi or reki) distributed by the Grand Shrines of Ise. Prior to World War II, the only official calendar distributed was called the honreki ("official calendar"), and was issued by the Grand Shrines Administration (Jingū Shichō). In 1946, however, the distribution of calenda...

Miki

Rice wine (sake) offered to the kami, an indispensable element of the food offerings known as shinsen. Usually referred to as omiki, or alternately as shinshu, the term miki is a combination of two characters, the honorific mi and the character for "wine" (ki). As such, it originally derived from a...

Omikuji

Also called mikuji, a form of divination by lots used to make decisions or determine the fortune of an undertaking. The term kuji suggests two meanings, one being the use of random chance to render an impartial verdict, and the second involving a querying of the divine will in cases where a decisio...

Saisen

A type of offering to kami and buddhas, originally given on the occasion of a visit of gratitude for the fulfillment of a prayer. Nowadays the term has the meaning of a monetary gift offered as an expression of prayer or reverence at temples and shrines. Differing from the offerings made at fixed r...

Sangu, Sanmai

Also called uchimaki, rice offered or scattered before the kami on the occasion of worship or purification (harae), or the ritual of offering rice in this way. According to one theory, the two terms sangu and sanmai have roughly the same meaning, while another holds that sanmai should be considered...

Senjafuda

Literally, "thousand-shrine-emblem," a small paper label printed with information such as one's name, the date, and place of origin, affixed to the walls or pillars of temples and shrines by pilgrims. The custom of following a pilgrimage circuit to pay worship at numerous temples or shrines arose i...

Shinme

A horse presented as a votive offering (hōnō), to serve as a mount for the kami, also called jinme or kamikoma. Horses were viewed as agents for bearing the kami since ancient times, and it was customary to present a horse to the kami as an expression of gratitude when making a vow or ent...

Shinsen

A general term for offerings of food made to the kami. In ancient times these offerings were called mike. A distinct characteristic of Japanese ritual worship since ancient times has been the concept that human beings may invoke the presence or appearance of the kami, present the kami with food off...

Shiroki, Kuroki

Literally, "white rice wine" and "black rice wine," types of sacred wine (omiki) used in Shinto offerings (shinsen). Ki is an ancient term for rice wine (sake). According to the section of the Engishiki concerning the palace brewmaster (mikizukasa), shiroki is a "light wine" made by filtering ferme...





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