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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Ritual Implements and Vestments
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) paper to a staff (called a heigushi) made of bamboo or other wood. Originally, offerings of cloth were presented to the kami by attaching them to a staff, and this practice forms the origin for today's customary gohei. Also, while rectangular paper was used at first, the custom later developed of attaching streamers called shide to the sides. Originally an offering to the kami, gohei stood deep within the sanctuary and came to be viewed as a mishōtai, an object in which the spirit of the kami resided, or else were placed before the kami as a decoration similar to mirrors, or were used as implements with which to purify worshipers at the shrine.

-Motosawa Masashi
Gohei from the Koza-Kōchi matsuri

Wakayama Prefecture, 2003

©Fujii Hiroaki

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