Shinto Fox Statue Set – 3.5 Inch Japanese Inari Kitsune

Description
Lovely matching pair of small porcelain shinto (native religion of Japan) Inari fox messenger statues. These brand new, Japanese-made statues are in perfect condition and ready for use with a small shinto shrine or as unique and interesting display items within the home of someone who appreciates traditional Japanese culture. Please read below to learn more about Inari fox messengers.

Size of each statue:
Height: 3.5 inches (9 centimeters)
Weight: 1.8 ounces (51 grams)

More about Inari Fox Messenger
Inari is actually the name of the Japanese god who watches over and protects the rice harvest. As rice has long been the staple food of the Japanese, this god is obviously very important, and shrines to Inari are reported to number more than 20,000 in Japan. Inari’s messenger is the magical, shape-shifting fox or kitsune as it is called in Japanese. Images of foxes are commonly seen flanking Inari in paintings of this god, as well as guarding the entrance to Inari shrines. Inari messenger foxes are said to possess the ability to hear and see all human activities as well as to transform into human form (usually a bewitching woman). Inari fox messengers are said to grow in power as they age and will only grow a tail (a symbol of power) after reaching the ripe old age of 100. Fox messengers are most powerful after they have lived for 1000 years at which point they may have a total of nine tails, grey or white fur and will have attained the power of infinite vision. Fox lore is common in Asia, though it is normally thought to have originated in India. Some Asian cultures view the fox as a strictly malevolent creature, though it Japan it is just as often portrayed as a powerful, yet kind creature with a genuine interest in the welfare of humans.

item code: INV-0000080_01 REL-0000220
ship code: L1650

Shinto is one of the two major religions of Japan (the other is Buddhism).  Shinto is often considered to be the native religion of Japan, and is as old as Japan itself.  The name Shinto means “the way of the gods.”  Shinto is a pantheistic religion, in which many thousands of major and minor gods are thought to exist.  The Japanese have built thousands of shrines (jinja) throughout the country to honor and worship these gods.  Some shrines are huge and are devoted to important deities.  Other shrines are small and may be easily missed when strolling along roads in the countryside.

Shinto gods are called kamiKami are thought to have influence on human affairs, and for this reason many Japanese make regular pilgrimage to community shrines in order to offer prayers to local kami.  The act of prayer involves approaching the shrine structure, passing through the gate-like torii, cleansing the hands and mouth with water and possibly ascending stairs to the main entrance of the shrine.  Usually without entering the shrine the worshipper will throw some coins into a stone or wooden collection box and then rattle the suzu bell which is at the top of a long hemp rope.  The worshiper grabs hold of the rope and shakes it back and forth causing the copper bell at the top to rattle.  This is thought to get the attention of the shrine god.  The worshipper then bows twice, claps his or her hands twice and then bows again.  In addition, the worshipper may clasp their hands together in silent prayer.  Shintoism and Buddhism have managed to find a comfortable coexistence in Japan.  Evidence of this harmonious relationship is found in the fact that that most Japanese are married in a Shinto shrine, but buried by a Buddhist priest.

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