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Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival) » Mikage Matsuri (Mikage Festival) at Shimogamo Shrine, Kawai Shrine, shoes removed outside shrine building
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Title
Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival) » Mikage Matsuri (Mikage Festival) at Shimogamo Shrine, Kawai Shrine, shoes removed outside shrine building
Work Type
documentary photographs
Date
May 12, 1993
Location
Creation/Discovery Site: Asia»Japan»Kyoto»Kyoto
Shimogamo JinjaShimogamo Jinja » Kawai Jinja
Description
Work Description: 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. MIKAGE MATSURI: During the Mikage Festival, Shimogamo priests visit the small Mikage Shrine to escort the deities (kami) from their living mountain abode to the actual Shimogamo Shrine precincts for the Aoi Festival. En route, the procession pauses at Akanomiya Shrine. The festival is presently held on May 12th, a few days before the Aoi Festival itself. Shrine priests, attendants and Shinto musicians, dressed in Heian Period costumes, assemble at Mikage Shrine in the village of Yase in the foothills of Mount Hiei in the early morning. Formerly many of the participating dignitaries arrived on horseback and the deities were solemnly transported on a white horse to Shimogamo’s Kawai Shrine. Postwar modernization has rendered this impractical and the participants now travel in several minibuses and the deities are transported on the back of a small pick-up truck to Kawai Shrine. For the last part of the event, the solemn procession from Kawai Shrine through the Tadasu-no-mori (Tadasu Forest) to the main precincts of Shimogamo Shrine, the deity is moved on the back of a white horse. Once the deities have been brought into the inner shrine they are considered formally in residence at the shrine. The ceremonial procession and festival takes the entire day. SHIMOGAMO SHRINE: The Kamo Shrines (Kamigamo and Shimogamo) are among the most important in Kyoto. Shimogamo was founded by the Kamo clan (possibly of immigrant origin) and is ranked as one of the oldest Shrines in Kyoto. It is dedicated to two deities. Kamotaketsunumi-no-Mikoto is the tutelary deity of the Kamo clan. He is often represented by a 3 legged crow that allegedly guided the mythological Emperor Jimmu in his move from the west to the Yamato area. The other deity is his daughter, Tamayorihime-no-Mikoto. 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, Kamowakeikazuchi-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 both shrines’ association with arrows (that have thus come to be regarded as a symbol of fertility). 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. Much of the shrine grounds are covered by a forest known as the Tadasu-no-mori and within the shrine precincts are several other sub-shrines. KAWAI SHRINE: Situated at the extreme Southwest corner of Tadasu-no-mori forest, Kawai Shrine is the old residence of the Shimogamo Shrine head priests. As such it was the abode of Kamo no Chomei, author of the Hojoki, who, having been disappointed in his aspirations to the succession of Shimogamo, retired as a recluse in the mountains of the Hino area, to a small, simple hut (hojoki). Kawai shrine has created a modern replica of Chomei’s hut in its forecourt. As a part of the Shimogamo complex, Kawai Shrine shares the same deities and it is at the Kawai Shrine that the Mikage festival procession pauses for prayers and blessings before the final journey through Tadasu-no-mori Forest to Shimogamo itself. For this final stage of the deities’ odyssey, they are carried on the back of a white horse.
SC Accession
498240D
SC Order
ord025521
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
16160622.fpx
SSID
16160622

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