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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Ritual Implements and Vestments
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 perforated designs on three (san) of its four sides (). The perforations were originally called ganshō (originally, genshō), although at present they are called kurikata or kurigata. While some platform trays had openings on all four sides (shihō), others had an opening on one side only (called kugyō), but at present, those with three openings are the norm. Most are made of unfinished hinoki cypress, but they may also be painted black or vermilion, in which case they may be called nuri sanbō (painted sanbō). When used to present offerings, the side without an opening is placed toward the back (the side toward the kami), with the tray's wooden splice toward the front. According to the rules for ritual procedures established by the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō), the offerant aligns his thumbs on the outside edges of the tray's raised edge, with the other fingers under the oshiki and against the body (base), holding the sanbō at eye level. The sanbō was originally composed of separate parts, with the tray merely resting upon the base, but they were later joined and are now constructed as a single unit.

-Inoue Nobutaka
Sanbō (platform tray used in ritual to hold offerings)

Shinto Museum of Kokugakuin University

Offerings are made in front of the altar at Niutsuhime Jinja using a sanbō trays.

Wakayama Prefecture, 2005

©Fujii Hiroaki

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