Japanese Shinto (native religion of Japan) religious altar offering vessel. This particular style of vessel is called misuire and is used to hold fresh water. This type of container is a common feature of kamidana household shrines which are the symbolic homes of deities traditionally revered by the Japanese. Altar pieces such as this may be made of wood, metal or ceramic and will occupy the foremost position in front of the kamidana (please see the last photo below which shows a similar ceramic set in use with our office kamidana). Tradition-minded Japanese may change the water in the misuire as often as twice a day at which point they also offer prayers to the resident god. Please read below to learn more about Japan’s native religion, Shinto.
About the Listed Item
This porcelain misuire is very well made and in good condition despite its age though there are scratches and marks as well as some discoloration from age and frequent handling. The vessel dates from the late Japanese Showa period (1926-1989) and was acquired in the beautiful and historic city of Shizuoka, Japan near the foot of Mt. Fuji.
Height (including lid): 2.5 inches (6.5 centimeters)
Diameter (at widest point of body): 2.1 inches (5.5 centimeters)
Weight: 2.7 ounces (76 grams)
More about the Shinto religion
Shinto is one of the two major religions of Japan (the other is Buddhism). Shinto is often considered to be the native religion of Japan, and is as old as Japan itself. The name Shinto means “the way of the gods.” Shinto is a pantheistic religion, in which many thousands of major and minor gods are thought to exist. The Japanese have built thousands of shrines (jinja) throughout the country to honor and worship these gods. Some shrines are huge and are devoted to important deities. Other shrines are small and may be easily missed when strolling along roads in the countryside.
Shinto gods are called kami. Kami are thought to have influence on human affairs, and for this reason many Japanese make regular pilgrimage to community shrines in order to offer prayers to local kami. The act of prayer involves approaching the shrine structure, passing through the gate-like torii, cleansing the hands and mouth with water and possibly ascending stairs to the main entrance of the shrine. Usually without entering the shrine the worshipper will throw some coins into a stone or wooden collection box and then rattle the suzu bell which is at the top of a long hemp rope. The worshiper grabs hold of the rope and shakes it back and forth causing the copper bell at the top to rattle. This is thought to get the attention of the shrine god. The worshipper then bows twice, claps his or her hands twice and then bows again. In addition, the worshipper may clasp their hands together in silent prayer. Shintoism and Buddhism have managed to find a comfortable coexistence in Japan. Evidence of this harmonious relationship is found in the fact that that most Japanese are married in a Shinto shrine, but buried by a Buddhist priest.
More photos below!
item code: R1S3-0003584
ship code: L1650