Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tanokami of Kiyomachi Onsen part 1

I dropped down into the Ebino Valley with its great views of the Kirishima Mountains and headed to Kiyomachi Onsen where I had a room for the night. I stopped in at the small tourist office near the station and discovered a group of Tanokami statues that had been collected together from the neighborhood.

This is Miyazaki Prefecture, but historically it was part of the Satsuma Domain which is where a particular culture of Tanokami developed in the Edo Period. Here the Tanokami, "rice paddy god" was seen very much as a tutelary deity, and statues were found everywhere.

You can pick up a map which shows the location of these statues, some of which have been gathered together. Many of the statues are painted.

These last two photos show a particular feature of many of these statues..... the weirdly exaggerated hats which look odd until you view the statue from behind when it all becomes clear. The Tanokami here have an obvious relationship with fertility......

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