There are many kinds of artifacts we are able to discover in old ruins. Sometimes, what we uncover weapons and farm tools. From those, we can gain a brief idea of what life then was like. “The Way of Prayer as Learned From The Ruins Exhibition” is an exhibition that features objects used in prayer and will be open until Sunday, July 3rd.
The Jomon period is the era when the Japanese people began creating earthenware. Maisetsu doki (earthenware to be buried underground) is one of the Jomon Doki, the earthenware that was created during the Jomon period, and it had a variety of uses.
For example, the people in ancient times would place in it a placenta when a child was born and bury it underground. They believed that if it was tread on by many feet, the baby born together with the placenta will grow up to be strong. At the same time, the ware was used for burying the dead body of a child.
The earthenware for the living and for the dead had a significant differences. The one for the dead were intentionally broken and had holes. The ancient people believed that through the hole, the dead soul would return to the earth and could live again. (To our regret, the maisetsu doki on display has been restored and the holes were restored all together with the pieces).
People today still hold many superstitions like mori-shio, piles of salt we put around our house to prevent evil spirits from entering, just like the old days. While farm tools and weapons have become mechanized and more efficient, methods of prayer have not changed much from ancient times, it seems. Thus, these kinds of prayers and rituals more vividly show what kind of ways of thinking the ancient people had. By learning the history of prayer, perhaps we can learn more about the customs of today.
This exhibition has a lot to offer, so I can’t tell you everything, but I’ll share one object with you.
This earthenware vase with a face is my favorite. This is a container that is used for self-purification. Just by blowing into it and discarding it into a river, you can throw away your sin and impurity together with the container. I want to do it to purify my soul if it is really that simple! It is such a waste to discard such cute earthenware into the river though… It looks cute somehow, even though the face is in a frown.
This exhibition has a variety of artifacts from Maisetsu doki to the collections of monkey masks in the Sarutahiko Shrine,! “Ways of prayer discovered from ruins Exhibition”
Is on display from now until 7/3 .Don’t miss it!
Posted by :Takamura (Press officer)