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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Objects of Worship and Shrine Treasures
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 relatively large kind of amulets enshrined in kamidana, or affixed over gates, on doors and pillars, or on ceilings. Most are meant as general invocations against illness and accident, for safety within the home, national peace, and success in business, but others have more specific aims, such as protection from fire, theft, snow, or insects. Some bear complicated designs, such as those from the Kumano Shrines known as Kumano-goō. Certain kinds used from the end of the Heian period until the early modern period had a blank obverse side on which devotees could inscribe a dedication. Throughout the early modern period, the priestly functionaries (oshi) from the Grand Shrines of Ise distributed amulets called Jingū (Ise) taima and these also represent one kind of shinsatsu.

Mamorifuda likewise represent a type of gofu amulet, but the term usually refers to a talisman distributed in a small bag made of brocade or ornate cloth and meant to be carried on the person. Like shinsatsu, mamorifuda may be made of wood or metal. Their origins lie in the talismans made by priests of Onmyōdō (Chinese Yin-Yang divination) or at Buddhist temples, and which later came to be produced at shrines as well. Mamorifuda can be found in a wide variety of types, the major kinds representing charms against illness and misfortune, invocations of household safety, safe childbirth, relief from snow or insects, traffic safety, safety at sea, and protection from bad fortune. Many are made to be worn on the body as personal invocations of divine aid.

-Okada Yoshiyuki
Protective talisman (ofuda) from Mitsumine jinja in Saitama Prefecture

Shinto Museum of Kokugakuin University

Protective talisman (ofuda) from Ise jingū

Shinto Museum of Kokugakuin University

A Goōhōin issued by Nyutsuhime Jinja

Wakayama Prefecture, 2006

©Fujii Hiroaki

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