…to fold, divine
Posted by ampontan on Thursday, December 4, 2008
WHAT DO paper and the gods have in common? In Japan, more than you might think. To begin with, the two words are homonyms in Japanese: kami and, well, kami. For another, the Japanese often use paper objects in religious ceremonies. And starting this Saturday, those people lucky enough to be wintering in Tokyo this year can see those objects in the Paper and Gods Exhibit at the Paper Museum. Of course it’s called Kami and Kami in Japanese!
The museum will display paper products associated in some way with religious worship. Most of the exhibits are of cut paper used for ceremonies in which people communicate with the divine, such as Shinto festivals, weddings, and funerals. These include gohei, a staff with paper strips at Shinto shrines into which the spirit of the divine(s) descend at the invitation of the priests; katashiro, paper images used in Shinto ceremonies used to remove defilements from the human spirit, and treasure ships used as good luck talismans.
The exhibit will last until 8 March and will set you back only 300 yen, which is pocket change. How’s that for a deal–you don’t even have to spend your paper money at the Paper Museum. During the exhibit’s run, the museum will also conduct a papermaking class on Saturdays.
Just think—it’s a shame the Japanese don’t use human hair in religious ceremonies, or they could have called it the kami kami kami exhibit and gotten Boy George to sing the theme song.
And you betcha I added the Paper Museum to the links on the right sidebar!