Japanese and Chinese antiques and art from B & C
Vintage Japanese Wood Kamidana Shinto Home Shrine

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Devotional Objects: Pre 1960: item # 1136730

Please refer to our stock # 11-370A19 when inquiring.

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B & C   Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418

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Vintage Japanese Wood Kamidana Shinto Home Shrine

Featuring expert craftsmanship and classic Japanese styling, this miniature wooden shrine is skillfully handcrafted of cedar or cypress and contains many of the detailed architectural elements found on larger Shinto shrines in Japan. It dates to the mid-20th century. These miniature architectural features include a large sloped overhanging roof with deep eves atop thick, closely spaced wooden beams; a large transverse roof ridge beam shaped like the top of a torii gate; thick round vertical columns flanking the front doors; and the raised extended platform base. The central double doors open to provide access to an interior sanctuary chamber where “ofuda” shrine charms and other appropriate religious articles may be placed behind the hanging silk curtain. This entire front panel is removable to facilitate access to the interior of the shrine, which has a small raised shelf to hold various religious items. For stability, the shrine is attached to a thin wood base with kanji and seal characters which appears to be the top of a tomobako (storage box).

A kamidana, which literally means “spirit altar,” is a miniature Shinto shrine. This type of small shrine is commonly used in Japan by families, organizations or businesses to symbolically house the groups’ patron deity. Kamidana will normally be placed in conspicuous view on a shelf or high wall within an important room such as the family room or in an area where employees or associates work or gather. Kamidana are also used to house sacred tablets called ofuda (literally “honorable plaque”) which are inscribed with written prayers and sanctified by a priest. Kamidana are basically small versions of larger Shinto shrines called Jinja, which are found at the heart of every Japanese community as well as areas of spiritual significance. Worship at the kamidana typically consists of the offering of simple prayers, food (e.g., rice, fruit, water) and flowers. Before worshiping at the kamidana it is ritually important for family members to cleanse their hands. A bell is rung a few times, then the person bows twice, claps the hands twice, says a prayer, then finishes with one more bow.

CONDITION is excellent and complete.

DIMENSIONS: Base is 11 ¾” (30 cm) x 9 ¼” (23.5 cm) x 15” (38 cm) high.

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