Friday, May 24, 2024

Yodohime Shrine & Yabusa Shrine: Statues as Shintai


In the immediate vicinity of Hoko-in Temple near Arita I visited two small, local shrines that were interesting because they both had statues as shintai.

Shintai are the objects, usually hidden inside the honden of a shrine,  into which the kami "descend". In some cases, possibly the original form shintai took before the introduction of Buddhism brought the notion of sacred architecture, shintai are trees, large rocks, and even mountains.

I have often read that shintai must be mirrors, but that is a State Shinto rule meant to elevate Amaterasu. In roadside hokora most of the shintai I have seen have been largish stones. Until the separation of Buddhas and kami in early Meiji, many shintai were in fact Buddhist statues.

These first four photos are of a Yodohime Shrine. There are quite a few in this part of Kyushu, and as you can see the honden is actually just a hokora with its doors open showing the statue. Yodohime was the grandmother of Jimmu, the mythical first emperor, but around here she is considered a water deity. The statue looks very Buddhist to me but because of the bib some details can't be seen.

The second shrine is called Yabusa Shrine and I can find no information about iit or who is enshrined here.

Like the Yodohime Shrine it is really just a stone hokora with a small worship hall in front.

As you can see, the statue of the "kami" looks very Buddhist, and the hands are even doing mudras.

The previous post in this series was on the .Yasaka Shrine in Arita.

1 comment: