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  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Washing basin
    Kashima Miya - Washing basin

    At this stone basin worshippers will rinse both hand and mouth as a symbolic act of purification before proceeding into the shrine center.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera
    Hasedera - Faithful visitor to Hasedera

    A woman unrolls a scroll painting of the bodhisattva of compassion Kannon purchased at the temple. She will eventually fill the spaces surrounding the image of Kannon (white head visible just below large wood block) with inscriptions by temple priests from various temples she intends to visit in the future.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Shrine fortune telling
    Ikuta Jinja - Shrine fortune telling

    This is a "mikujior&quo box, from which one draws a paper packet in which is written a fortune. The fortune is printed on a small piece of paper and, if it is auspicious, a visitor will usually fold it into a long, thin strip and then tie it around a small branch of a tree in the shrine compound. It is as if this act also ties a bond between one's future and the deity of the temple: one wishes that the kami will help fulfill your good fortune. If the fortune does not bode well, the visitor has the option of taking another mikuji (which usually costs less -- this box says, "first fortune 200 yen," a little under $2).

  • Thumbnail for Religion in public
    Religion in public

    People leave offerings for the spirits during the Hungry Ghost Festival along public sidewalks.

  • Thumbnail for Offering Allowed
    Offering Allowed

    A man burns offerings in a No-Parking zone.

  • Thumbnail for Setting the stage
    Setting the stage

    Two men are setting this stage for the celebration of the Hungry Ghost festival.

  • Thumbnail for Burning barrels
    Burning barrels

    Two red barrels that are used to burn offerings. The ash is visible on the ground around the barrels.

  • Thumbnail for Setting offerings
    Setting offerings

    This woman is adding more offerings to this collection.

  • Thumbnail for Printed fortune cabinet at a temple
    Printed fortune cabinet at a temple

    For a donation of 100 yen, one may obtain a printed fortune, an omikuji . The black case contains a collection of sticks, each with a number on it. There is a small hole in the lid of the case. One would pick up the case, shake it to mix up the sticks, then turn the case upside down and shake one stick out through the hole in the lid. The number on that stick would direct one to one of the numbered drawers in the cabinet next to the table, where one would find one's fortune. A good fortune may be tied to a line, in effect, as a prayer to the deity of the shrine or temple, seeking their aid in bringing the fortune true. Very commonly seen at shrines, this particular cabinet is at Muroji, a Buddhist temple. Keywords: omikuji see also: ecasia000037

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, ritual ablutions before prayer
    Aurangzeb Mosque, ritual ablutions before prayer

    Before praying, all Muslim worshippers must purify themselves by performing ritual ablutions. Mosques provide fountains or individual water spigots so that each person can carry out this ritual cleansing.

  • Thumbnail for Qawwali singers, Khuldabad
    Qawwali singers, Khuldabad

    Getting ready to sing qawwals on the verandah of the Dargah guest house, these local men prepare their head coverings and the harmonium.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh tomb entrance
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh tomb entrance

    The doorway opens into a closed circular room housing a sarcophagus to represent the tomb of the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh. A domed roof covers this tomb shrine. Men enter this room and pray next to the tomb while women pray at the doorway. Both men and women are touched with a peacock feather on each shoulder as a symbol of the blessings received by all who pray at this site.

  • Thumbnail for Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah Masjid plaque
    Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah Masjid plaque

    On the wall of the masjid, over the mehrab or niche designating the direction of prayer is this blue-green plaque with the shahada written in gold lettering: There is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet.

  • Thumbnail for Ceremonial Axe
    Ceremonial Axe

    Bronze axe with man and beast motif. May have been a token of rank and an instrument in conducting human sacrifices. "The innocent face, flanked by a pair of animals, usually identified as tigers, seems blissfully unaware of any unhappy outcome, and the tigers, most ferocious of beasts, are surprisingly benign." [as quoted from Robert Thorpe]

  • Thumbnail for Dolmen
    Dolmen

    Pre-history Korea had a funeral service which required three large slabs of rock where the larger rock is placed on two others and over time, pushes the two below further and further apart. Below ground is where the body is buried. Usually the person buried there was of high status.

  • Thumbnail for View of the Earth
    View of the Earth

    Colored ink and paint on paper, 12 3/4 inch circle with interior concentric circles of varying colors. Mandala-type image with central image made of tripartite grouping of images in a palatial setting.

  • Thumbnail for Ritual Vessel (Jue) - opposite side
    Ritual Vessel (Jue) - opposite side

    8 inches x 6.5 inches. Opposite side of classical ritual pouring vessel is cast with typical zoomorphic taotie mask design divided by flanges below a border of lappets on the central decorated section. The smoothly patinated surface shows malachite incrustation throughout. This is one of the most recognizable of the archaic bronze forms.

  • Thumbnail for Kashima Miya - Interior view of subsidiary shrine
    Kashima Miya - Interior view of subsidiary shrine

    Inside we see a small mirror, which is often present in a shrine as an embodiment (shintai) of the kami. There are also small containers visible that may be filled with water, rice or even sake as offerings.

  • Thumbnail for Ikuta Jinja - Shrine souveniers and amulets
    Ikuta Jinja - Shrine souveniers and amulets

    This young woman works in a stall that sells various types of amulets (o-mamori). Many Japanese visitors will purchase one when they visit a major shrine such as Ikuta Jinja. They will often keep it near them until their next visit (and purchase), in places such as in their purse, tied onto a back pack, or hanging from a car mirror.

  • Thumbnail for Prayer strips in Tamagawa
    Prayer strips in Tamagawa

    From the bridge over the Tamagawa stream that leads to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum one can see these wooden strips suspended above the stream so that the current washes across the bottom of the strips. On each strip is written the name of someone deceased, and the pure waters of this stream are said to purify their spirits wherever they may be in their afterlife journey.

  • Thumbnail for Bronze statues of Jizo and other deities
    Bronze statues of Jizo and other deities

    Near the main shrine at Okunoin people stop to pray before, and pour water over, these Buddhist images.

  • Thumbnail for Food vendors offer their ancestors help
    Food vendors offer their ancestors help

    The workers at this stand maintain a table of offerings.

  • Thumbnail for A celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival sign
    A celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival sign

    A celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival sign

  • Thumbnail for Feast for the spirits
    Feast for the spirits

    Fruit, food and drink are all placed on a table for spirits.

  • Thumbnail for Setting sail
    Setting sail

    A paper boat and home are created as offerings to the spirits.