Inari Fox Statues – Japan Shinto Shrine

Inari is the name of the Japanese Shinto (native religion of Japan) 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 gain 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.

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Small Japan Daikoku Mask – Shinto Shichifukujin God

Small ceramic image of Daikoku, Japan’s god of wealth and good fortune. Daikoku is one of the most famous and celebrated gods within the Japanese Shinto (native religion of Japan) pantheon (please read below to learn more about Shinto). Daikoku is one of seven popular luck gods collectively known as Shichifukujin. These famous gods (six male and one female) are frequently seen together in Japanese art, often on a boat sailing the seas of fortune. Daikoku is usually depicted holding his wonderful luck hammer which he waves to dispense good fortune upon worthy humans. The god is also frequently shown standing upon two large bales of rice, an auspicious symbol of prosperity. The happy luck god wears one of the most captivating smiles in all Asian art and is nearly always depicted in the act of joyfully visiting wealth and happiness upon the earth (note the bag of goodies carried over his left shoulder).

About the Listed Item

This small (please see size information below) ceramic mask is in fair condition with no cracks though it does have some chips, marks and scratches from handling and a warm patina of age. This tiny mask dates from the early to mid Japanese Showa period (1926-1989) and was acquired in the historic city of Shizuoka, Japan near the foot of Mt. Fuji.

Size:
Height: 2.0 inches (5.0 centimeters)
Width: 2.0 inches (5.0 centimeters)
Weight: 1.3 ounces (38 grams)

More about the Shinto religion

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 kami. Kami 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.

item code: R1S4-0005702
ship code: L1650

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Welcome to the the Japan Shrine and Temples blog. Exploring Japan’s spiritual infrastructure.

Find us on YouTube at the following URL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ShrinesandTemples

Please visit our blog at the following URL:
https://shrinesandtemples.wordpress.com

Follow us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/ShrinesTemples

Interested in talking with others about Japan?
Please visit our forum at:http://softypapa.net

Antique Japanese Fushimi Doll – Fukakusa Ebisu Ningyo

Antique Japanese Fushimi ceramic figure. Dolls such as this are thought to have originated in the town of Fushimi near the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto. The figures were first manufactured around the start of the Edo period (1600-1868) and were sold to pilgrims visiting the famous Fushimi Inari Shinto shrine (Shinto is the native religion of Japan). The dolls were thought to possess power from the shrine which would bless the homes of the returning pilgrims, and thus Fushimi dolls have always been appreciated as spiritual gifts. Fushimi dolls are also sometimes called Fukakusa or Inari dolls and are considered one of the top three varieties of traditional Japanese fire clay dolls. Sadly, these dolls are one of Japan’s disappearing crafts, as while there were once as many as twenty kilns in Fushimi dedicated to the creation of these figures, there remains today in this town only one.

About the Listed Item

This authentic ceramic Fushimi doll dates from the Japanese Meiji period (1868-1912) and is today in fair condition with no cracks though the doll does have a large chip in the back as well as smaller chips and many marks and scratches from handling. The doll also wears a darkened patina suggestive of its age and many years of past display. This figure depicts the Japanese luck god Ebisu who is often seen in the company of a large fish (please read below to learn more about Ebisu).

Size:
Height: 5.5 inches (14.0 cm)
Weight: 13.1 ounces (374 grams)

More about Ebisu

Ebisu is Japan’s god of fisherman, the morning sun and one of the seven popular luck gods within the Shinto pantheon. Ebisu is also sometimes regarded as the protector of small children, a role he shares with the Buddhist deity Jizo. Legend holds the Ebisu was once a real man (a fisherman in fact) who rescued a boneless (it’s a long story) god named Hiruko from the sea. Ebisu (who’s full name at that time was Ebisu Saburo) went on to live a life full of troubles after which point he become a Shinto deity. Ebisu has always been popular in Japan and images of this happy, ever smiling deity are found everywhere in art, masks and statuary. Ebisu is sometimes depicted holding a long fishing rod in his right hand and a large sea bream (tai) fish under his left arm. Ebisu is often seen with another famous Shinto luck god Daikoku who is reputed to be Ebisu’s father. Ebisu and Daikoku are both members of the Shichifukujin group of seven luck gods. These famous gods (six male and one female) are frequently seen together in Japanese art, often in a boat sailing the seas of fortune. Ebisu is unique among the seven as the only god who is native to Japan, the other gods all tracing their origins to religious traditions within other cultures.

item code: R3S1B2-0002859
ship code: G3

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Welcome to the the Japan Shrine and Temples blog. Exploring Japan’s spiritual infrastructure.

Find us on YouTube at the following URL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ShrinesandTemples

Please visit our blog at the following URL:
https://shrinesandtemples.wordpress.com

Follow us on Twitter:
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Daruma Buddhist Porcelain Statue Japan Zen Bodhidarma

Antique Japanese porcelain statue depicting the Daruma who is regarded as the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. The statue is in good condition with no chips or cracks though there are marks and scratches from handling and the statue wears a darkened patina of age. This Daruma figure dates from the mid to late Japanese Showa period (1926-1989) or before and was acquired in the historic city of Shizuoka, Japan near the foot of Mt. Fuji. Please read below to learn about the history and legend of Daruma.

Size:
Height: 5.3 inches (13.7 centimeters)
Weight: 3.6 ounces (103 grams)

Important note:
Images of the Daruma items which we list are often uploaded to our Daruma Blog which is an on-line gallery of unique and interesting Daruma items. The purpose of this blog is strictly to share images of some of the wonderful Daruma we encounter in the course of our work, and to provide a digital archive to preserve these images into the future. If you purchase a Daruma item from us and do not want a digital copy of your Daruma displayed in the photo blog or archive then please simply send us an email indicating your preference and we will promptly remove the item images.

More about Daruma

“Life falls down seven times, yet gets up eight…” This popular Japanese proverb is commonly associated with the Indian Buddhist sage Daruma. Daruma is the more familiar name of the historical Buddhist monk Bodhidarma, who lived sometime during the fifth or sixth century AD. Daruma is credited with the founding of the Zen sect of Buddhism, which he is reputed to have introduced into China during his travels there. Some of the legends surrounding this figure include tales that he achieved enlightenment or satori only after meditating in a cave for seven years without blinking or moving his eyes. Another story tells that his enlightenment occurred within a temple in China where he spent his seven years sitting in a room staring at a wall. Apparently at some point during his long meditation Daruma became so overcome with fatigue that he cut off his eyelids in anger and tossed them to the ground. These are reputed to have then sprouted into China’s first green tea plants! It is said that Daruma’s long meditation caused his arms and legs to wither and fall off, leaving him as an armless, legless and eyelidless (yet enlightened) Bodhidarma… The Japanese love this story and admire Daruma for his spirit and determination, and each new year many Japanese will buy a paper-mache Daruma tumbler doll in order to enlist its services in helping them persevere towards their own goals or achievements. The dolls are sold with unpainted eyes, allowing the new owner to paint in one eye to symbolize the start of a new goal or venture. The doll is then placed in a prominent place within the home or at work in order to remind the owner to keep after their aim. Japanese students especially utilize Daruma to motivate them with their studies; placing a one-eyed Daruma before them on their desk as motivation to work hard and make the grade. Only after the goal is achieved will the owner then paint in the second eye, symbolizing a realized goal. Daruma dolls which have completed their jobs as perseverance role models are normally then brought to a temple to be burned during special ceremonies set aside for this purpose. The last images below are various representations of Daruma found at a Zen temple near our home in Japan.

item code: R1S5-0004469
ship code: L1650

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Welcome to the the Japan Shrine and Temples blog. Exploring Japan’s spiritual infrastructure.

Find us on YouTube at the following URL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ShrinesandTemples

Please visit our blog at the following URL:
https://shrinesandtemples.wordpress.com

Follow us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/ShrinesTemples

Interested in talking with others about Japan?
Please visit our forum at:http://softypapa.net

Japanese Cicada – Shinto Shrine Trees

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.

—-

Welcome to the the Japan Shrine and Temples blog. Exploring Japan’s spiritual infrastructure.

Find us on YouTube at the following URL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ShrinesandTemples

Please visit our blog at the following URL:
https://shrinesandtemples.wordpress.com

Follow us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/ShrinesTemples

Interested in talking with others about Japan?
Please visit our forum at: http://softypapa.net