FIGURES AND FIGURE CAPTIONS


Few spectators can remain indifferent to the mysterious spell of the popular and aristocratic rites presented at the on-matsuri in Nara in front of the temporary cultic pavilion of the Kasuga-Wakamiya shrine. The meaning of the festival is as old as it is simple: the god of the once mighty Fujiwara leaves his architecturally prestigious dwelling to enter the primitive cultic building provided at the feast. Colourful figures in precious robes and headgear, carrying exotic cultic objects, make up the procession that moves to the anachronistic cultic building to pay homage to the deity. The kaleidoscopic series of ceremonies lasts for over two days. Magnificently masked and costumed figures perform ancient dances in the open air to the strains of haunting music.


(1) The cultic practices centre upon the anachronistic 'palace' of the Fujiwara clan deity.


(2) The procession passes through the big 'torii'


(3) A Shinto priest prays before the temporary shrine.


(4) The procession attracts many spectators.


(5) Ancient traditional dance of the armed warriors.


(6) Nô-theatre taking place in daytime in the open air.


(7) Two dancing figures (chikyû).


(8) A nô figure (yumiyahata)


Back to 'Folkfestivals as a Gateway to Japanese Culture'
Back to homepage