Showing posts with label haniwa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label haniwa. Show all posts

Monday, June 14, 2021

Down the Kikuchi River


December 20th, the 48th day of my first walk around Kyushu and I left Yamaga to head down to Tamana. First stop was the burial mounds museum I posted about here and here. Pictured above are some of the haniwa reproductions. Haniwa were the ceramic figures placed on top of the burial mounds. Horses and chickens appear here. Houses, deer, and human figures are also common.

My route takes me roughly alog the Kikuchi River, though here the land is fairly flat and the river meansers so the road sometimes cuts straight. I am still surprised by how much agricuture takes place under plastic. I have no idea what was growing here, though being December 20th, the coldest weather had yet to arrive.

A statue modelled on a clay haniwa marks the entrance to a cluster of tombs, the largest being the Etafunayama Mound. The grave goods excavated from the burial chamber included multiple swords, mirrors, and jewels, collectively known as the three symbols of Imperial power, or the Imperial Regalia.

November and December are my favorite times for walking around western Japan. The weather is usually good, the light is great, and the lack of mosquitoes makes sleeping out more pleasant, but the days are somewhat short.

Arched stone bridges would not be particularly noreworthy in many places, but in Japan they are somewhat unusual. Introduced by Chinese monks in Nagasaki most of them seem to be in areas near to Nagasaki. Therevwere several more in Tamana.

Being the solstive eve I found myself a nice high-point to spend the night.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Along the Road.....Azaleas & Haniwa

After leaving Unochi Shrine I continued downstream towards the first temple on this leg of my Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage. It was May, and the azaleas that lined the road were stunning.

The local manhole cover doesnt feature azaleas though, rather cosmo flowers....

Within the azalea bushes were miniature replicas of Haniwa, the terra cotta figurines, often over a meter in height, that surrounded the ancient burial mounds. According to the ancient chronicles the haniwa were created to replace the practice of sacrificial  live human burials along with deceased leaders. Most Japanese insist that such things never happened, though usualy the chronicles are treated as gospel.

Quite probably these roadside decorations are because a little way down the road is quite an important burial mound.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aimi Town Tottori Persimmons & Haniwa

Aimi Town Tottori

Aimi Town Tottori Persimmons & Haniwa.

Aimi Town, located west of Mount Daisen in Tottori, became subsumed under Nambu Town a few years ago. The local draincover shows persimmons and a haniwa. The area is known for its large type of persimmon, and one of the highlights of the local matsuri is a persimon-seed spitting competition.

Haniwa are clay figures that were placed around large tombs, and this area of Tottori has a large number of smaller kofun (burial mounds), indicating that this was quite an important political center in ancient times.

Many of the myths and stories connected with Okuninushi are set in this part of the country. At one shrine a a large rock is revered that legend has killed Okuninushi. Apparently he had 80 brothers (or step-brothers) known as the Yasogami, and they were constantly trying to do Okuninushi harm. In this story they told Okuninushi to wait at this spot while they went up the mountain to drive down a wild boar. They then heated a large rock until it was red hot and rolled it down the mountain. Okuninushi, somehow seeing a large red boulder as a wild boar, grabbed the rock and was of course burned to death. Not to worry though as his mother interceded with the kami and had him brought back to life.

Further stories of ancient times links another shrine with one of the early mythical emperors, and at a shrine to this emperor there are some wonderful carved reliefs on the shrine buildings.

I saw this rather incongruous pairing at a nearby temple that had hundreds of memorials to dead children.