ohenro coat, Japan, Showa (circa 1940), cm 75x132 Rural Japan always had a strong bias towards religious sects. One of the many, the ‘Shugendo’ was sort of an esoteric sect, hybrid among Buddhism, Shintoism and bit of sorcery too. Its key concept is the belief that some mountains are sacred, and that the worship of such peaks will empower the worshipper. Therefore, from the 14th century onwards, there have been pilgrimages to those special mountains, each housing a temple. The most demanding test to the faithful consists in the pilgrim (ohenro-san) hiking around the 88 temples in the Shikoku Island, a trip that on foot can take some 60 days. The pilgrims usually wore a white cotton coat and a traditional straw hat. At any stop by a temple they would have received a signature via a red-ink stamp placed on a book or on the jacket itself. The more stamps the closer to heaven completeness... This actual coat is of undyed white cotton with auspicious ‘bonji’ characters and hand-printed images in black of a divinity together with ‘enno-goyja’, an historical figure of an ascetic from the Nara period, sheltered by a rock and two guardians. It also bears a red stamp from a temple --- maybe a dedicated book was used to collect others… Apart from minor staining the coat is in good condition. An intimate insight into a less-known aspect of life from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’.
price:  SOLD