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Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival) » Yabusame Shinji (Horseback Archery Event) at Shimogamo Shrine, second archer on horseback with attendants
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Title
Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival) » Yabusame Shinji (Horseback Archery Event) at Shimogamo Shrine, second archer on horseback with attendants
Work Type
documentary photographs
Date
May 3, 1994
Location
Creation/Discovery Site: Asia»Japan»Kyoto»Kyoto
Shimogamo Jinja
Description
Work Description: The riders’ costumes are those of the Edo period, with the exception of the first three, who are dressed in the attire of the Heian nobility. This suggests that Yabusame may be older than the Kamakura period. 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. YABUSAME PURIFICATION EVENT: A lengthy ceremony dedicating and purifying the bows, arrows and riders takes place before the actual competition. It will be noted that the arrows have an odd turnip-shaped tip, the purpose of which is unclear. This perhaps serves to give a louder sound when (and if) the arrows hit the target. The association of an archery event with a shrine, whose foundation legend is of Tamayorihime-no-Mikoto’s conception with an arrow discovered while bathing in the river, is not coincidental. YABUSAME SHINJI: Yabusame was an event formerly staged to entertain the deities when resident in the Shrine. Nowadays, it is held during the long “Golden Week” national holidays at the beginning of May. Yabusame is a demanding sport, involving the shooting of special arrows at a target while moving at full speed on a thoroughbred race horse. Yabusame was allegedly popularized by the founder of the Kamakura Shogunate, Minamoto-no-Yoritomo (1147—1199), alarmed that his soldiers were not demonstrating sufficient martial skills on horseback during his long civil wars. Some form of the sport maybe even older but the Ogasawara School from Kamakura, whose members perform the event at Shimogamo, dates from Yoritomo’s time. Based in Kamakura, the Ogasawara School is responsible for the most famed Yabusame competition held there annually at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine. The Yabusame competition at Shimogamo was stopped in the second year of the Meiji Era (1869) and not resurrected as a regular event until 1973. The horses apparently come from the Yodo horse racing track located to the south of Kyoto. 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.
SC Accession
498377D
SC Order
ord025522
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
16170061.fpx
SSID
16170061

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