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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » 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 period. Prior to that time, they were referred to by a name describing the content together with the suffix "-e" indicating they were paintings. The content of emaki may be divided into the following major types: fictitious tales, historical tales, military tales, and tales of popular morality, preaching, and the deeds of the kami (setsuwa), otogi zōshi, scriptures (kyōten), tales of the origins of temples and shrines (jisha engi), and biographies of famous Buddhist priests.

Many emaki are related to Shinto; they include tales of the origins of ancient shrines (engi emaki), tales preaching the virtues or spiritual powers of the kami of such shrines (reigen emaki), illustrated writings (ekotoba), or the faith of famous Buddhist priests in the kami. Other scrolls depict shrine rites (sairei emaki). Motivations and contexts for the production of emaki varied widely, from the artistic pictorial representation of religiously inspired literary fables, to the desire to transmit images of shrine precincts and rituals to future generations.

-Okada Yoshiyuki
Picture scroll depicting Gion festival

Shinto Museum of Kokugakuin University

Float (dashi) in Gion festival parade

Shinto Museum of Kokugakuin University

Paraders in Gion festival

Shinto Museum of Kokugakuin University

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