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Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival) » Saiodai Misogi no Gi (Saiodai Purification) at Kamigamo Shrine, Saiin and attendants with paper dolls seated in Hashidono
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Title
Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival) » Saiodai Misogi no Gi (Saiodai Purification) at Kamigamo Shrine, Saiin and attendants with paper dolls seated in Hashidono
Work Type
documentary photographs
Date
May 4, 1994
Location
Creation/Discovery Site: Asia»Japan»Kyoto»Kyoto
Kamigamo Jinja
Description
Work Description: The Nara River and the Hashidono (or Hosodono) area outside of the main shrine precinct are used in the Saiodai purification rites for the Saiin (part of the Aoi Festival) in the years when they are enacted at Kamigamo. The Hashidono area also faces towards the Ganjo rock, the temporary residence of Kamigamo's deity during the Aoi Festival. AOI MATSURI: During the Aoi festival, believed to be Kyoto’s oldest Shinto festival, an Imperial Messenger visits both of the Kamo Shrines (Kamigamo and Shimogamo). The festival is said to have started during the reign of the Emperor Kinmei (540-571) when rites to appease the kami (deities) were performed at the Shrines after severe storms had destroyed the harvests. Thereafter, officials are said to have paid regular visits to pray for abundant grain harvests. The festival probably assumed its present importance after the capital was transferred to Kyoto in 794 and it may have symbolized an agreement between pre-existing clans to provide a peaceful environment for the Emperor’s new abode. The festival’s name is derived from the Aoi flower, related to the hollyhock, which is used to decorate costumes and ceremonies during the event. The Aoi Festival is today one of Kyoto’s three famous big festivals, and attracts tourists from all over the country. The festival procession, traditionally consisting of ox-drawn carts, horses with golden saddles, and participants dressed in the most formal Heian costumes decorated with hollyhock (aoi) leaves, sets out from the Kyoto Imperial Palace and makes its way through the Tadasu-no-mori forest toward the Kamigamo Shrine via Shimogamo Shrine. The main festival takes place on May 15th, but a number of related events are of equal importance. Chief among these is the ritual to bring the deities from their rock abodes into the respective shrines for the event. During the deities’ residence in the shrines, a number of events are organized to entertain them. Today these events begin at the beginning of the month but in earlier times the span of the festival may have been greater. SAIODAI PURIFICATION: The "Saio" was a virgin Imperial princess, sent to officiate at shrine ceremonies. The first Saio was appointed to serve at Ise Jingu, the head shrine to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu no Okami. During the Heian period, a “saio” was also appointed to the Kamo Shrines, commonly known as the Kamo Saiin. Although the custom of sending an Imperial princess to Ise may have continued somewhat later, it is believed that the institution of the Kamo “saio/saiin” fell into disuse in the confusion that accompanied the end of the Heian era. Now, probably in order to add colour to the Aoi Festival and thereby promote it as a tourist event, a representative of the Saio is chosen annually from among the daughters of Kyoto’s leading families. In a further event preparatory to the main festival, the chosen representative of the Saio (saiodairi) is purified, the location alternating between Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines each year. The Saio is accompanied by numerous attendants, all dressed in colorful Heian era costumes. The festival is, therefore a re-imagined event, memorializing the purification rite of the Kamo Saio (Saiin) that allegedly took place during the Heian era in the Kamo River. The addition of the Saio Representative to the Aoi Festival occurred after the war, probably starting in the 1970s. KAMIGAMO SHRINE: The Kamo Shrines (Kamigamo and Shimogamo) are among the most important in Kyoto. Kamigamo Shrine is often ranked in importance after the Ise and Izumo Shrines (these latter being dedicated to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, and her miscreant brother, Susano-O no Mikoto). Early animistic, or “Primitive Shinto” believed that the gods (kami) resided in rocks, tress, mountains and other natural phenomena and had to be appeased regularly with suitable offerings in order to ensure the well-being of the community. In both the Kamo Shrines, the main deities are held to reside in rocks on significant hills, outside the Shrine precincts themselves. This is unusual, in that later “Shrine Shinto” (codified around the time of the creation of the legends embodied in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki Chronicles in the 8th century), usually considered that the various deities were resident within their own shrines. Kamigamo's deity, Kamo Wakeikazuchi-no-Kami, is believed to reside primarily in a rock on Koyama Hill, some distance from the shrine. The origin myth of this deity states he is the son of Princess Tamayorihime-no-Mikoto, one of the deities of Shimogamo Shrine. Legend tells that one day, while bathing (whether in the Kamo River or the Izumi stream of Tadasu-no-mori is not clear), an arrow came flying down which the Princess took back home to the Shrine. At night the arrow transformed itself into a handsome young man (god) with whom the Princess conceived a child. The child, an equally good-looking young man, Kamo Wakeikazuchi-no-Kami, flew off in a thunderbolt to become the deity of Kamigamo Shrine. The legend is depicted on Kamigamo Shrine screens and is the origin of the both shrines’ association with arrows (that have thus come to be regarded as a symbol of fertility).
SC Accession
498418D
SC Order
ord025524
Rights
Image and scholarly information provided by David Boggett. Cataloging provided by Smith College Imaging Center, Department of Art, Hillyer Hall, Northampton, MA 01063; Elisa Lanzi, Director; voice: 413-585-3106; fax: 413-585-3119; elanzi@smith.edu. To use this image for purposes outside of the ARTstor Terms and Conditions of Use, please contact: David Boggett, davidboggett@Yahoo.co.uk. ©David Boggett. Universal
This image was provided by Smith College; Smith College only; Limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only.
Image and scholarly information provided by David Boggett. Cataloging provided by Smith College Imaging Center, Department of Art, Hillyer Hall, Northampton, MA 01063; To use this image for purposes outside of the ARTstor Terms and Conditions of Use, please contact: David Boggett, davidboggett@Yahoo.co.uk. ©David Boggett. Universal
This image has been selected and made available by a user using Artstor's software tools. Artstor has not screened or selected this image or cleared any rights to it and is acting as an online service provider pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §512. Artstor disclaims any liability associated with the use of this image. Should you have any legal objection to the use of this image, please visit http://www.artstor.org/copyright for contact information and instructions on how to proceed.
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File Properties
File Name
16159423.fpx
SSID
16159423

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