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Ema (絵馬)

http://a1.l3-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/149/5b91d97c518a4508a8814bd6db914921/l.jpg
(Ema (絵馬) / Image)

Ema are wooden plates on which people write their prayers. Then they are hung up at a shrine as offerings to the gods. Ema usually take a shape of pentagon because the plates used to have roofs on them.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4004/5154063354_a78451bf97.jpg

Ema have a history going back to the Nara period (710-794), when a picture of a horse was offered to a shrine instead of a real horse. Each shrine uses its unique and traditional Ema. At Fushimi Inari Shrine, for example, the face of a fox is painted on the plate because a fox is considered to be the god’s messenger.
photo

On Ema for the wish of preventing eye diseases, a Japanese hiragana letter of “me (meaning an eye in Japanese)” is written. Or the inverted letter of “me” is written on some plates. Those who want to prevent their husbands’ flirtation use Ema with the Kanji meaning “heart” and the picture of the lock and key drawn on them. In the present days people also like to attach miniature Ema to their key chains or cell phones as bringer of good luck.

By TS on Dec 9, 2011
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tag : Cool_Japan

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