Konpira-san in Shikoku

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Konpira-san in Shikoku 四国の金毘羅参り
Sanukibori 讃岐彫り Sanuki woodcarving

This famous Shrine is located on a steep mountain side and it takes more than 1800 stone steps to get to the last Shrine near the top,
Oku-no-In (奥の院).
Many kinds of wooden Daruma are sold on the way up to the Shrine.


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Kompira Shrine, Kompira san
Kotohira Gu 琴平宮, 金毘羅さん

. Konpira, Kotohira Shrine .

Big Daruma at Konpira

Carpenter specialized in Shrines and Dharma
A long time ago, a carpenter who specialized in shrines was asked to conduct a big project. Because of the huge responsibility of the project, he was at a loss as to what to do, and thought of it over days and nights.
One night, he had a dream of a divine message,
“Carve statues of Dharma from a pine tree and meditate, and something good will happen to you.”
Therefore, he started carving Dharma statues and kept looking at them every day.
After following the divine message, he eventually was able to feel at ease, and his work went very well. As a result, he was able to complete the whole construction project of the Asahi-no-yashiro Shrine.
Since then, Dharma statues have been carved to help people in trouble. Today, they are regarded as a good souvenir of Kotohira.
source : town.kotohira.kagawa.jp

. shinshi 神使 the divine messenger .
from Konpira Shrine is kani 蟹 the crab:

source : plala.or.jp/sinsi/07...


The Ships for Kompira Shrine
金毘羅船々 Kompira Fune, Fune
a famous song about this shrine.

“Shura-shu-shu-shu” imitates the sound that the sails when they are being raised.
Kompira Fune, Fune
Oite ni ho agete
Shura shu-shu-shu
Shikoku o mawareba
Sanshuu Nakanogori Zozu-san
Kompira Daigongen
Ichido megurite

O ships, ships to Kompira
Raise the sails
If you take the pilgrimage around Shikoku
There is Nakanogori in Sanshuu
And at the top of Mount Zozu
The Shrine of Kompira Daigongen!
You must visit here
At least once.

Kompira Daigongen, also called "God of the Ships"
Funagami 船神(ふながみ)

Konpira Daigongen . 金毘羅大権現
Kompira Daigongen


Kompira Kabuki, The Kanemaru Theater

金毘羅歌舞伎(金丸座) Kanemaruza

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Kabuki performances were revived in 1985 as the "Shikoku Kompira Kabuki Oshibai," which used to be enthusiastically seen by pilgrims to the Kotohiragu Shrine. The plays are performed by popular kabuki actors every spring.

Reference : Kompira Kabuki


Exhibition in August 2007

The Mural Art of Kotohira-gu Shrine --
Okyo, Jakuchu, and Gantai

琴平宮 Kotohira-Gu


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Sanukibori : Carving from Sanuki Area
in Shikoku . 讃岐彫り 

Sanukibori ― Carving from Sanuki Area in Shikoku

Sanuki Ittoobori: Development of Technique

During the years of the Kansei Period, (1789 -1802) the master craftsmen of tsuishu and tsuikoku, Zokoku Tamakaji is said to have initiated this art. From his early years Tamakaji, along with studying the lacquer industry and carrying on his father Rizaemon's work, also studied engraving and in the 10th year of the Tenpo Period (1839), at the age of 33 he sculpted 1806 pieces of flowers, birds and insects.

Lord Yorihiro Matsudaira, allowed him to use a sword of rhinocerous horn pieces because of his talent. Due to the improvement of Kamakura-bori artistry, the entire piece did not have to be carved so deeply and high and low regions of the surface were engraved by knife. Due to this process, the pattern was made clearly visible and it was coated numerous times and then filtered. Color was filled in the patterned areas, dried and after undergoing a process of "komouchi"or beating, completion was achieved.

In 1929, with the acceptance of gotonuri as a recognised hard lacquer form by the nation, this new form of bamboo lacquering referred to as "New Sanukibori zataku" had pieces sent to department store exhibitions in the Hanshin area where the refined tastefulness of gotonuri and the strong character and elegant feeling of Sanukibori garnered great popularity.

. source : Morishige Furniture -  

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- - More of my Sanukibori Daruma


Daruma-Hunting in Takamatsu, December 2001

Since we moved to Okayama Prefecture in 1995 we make it a habit to go to Takamatsu on the Island of Shikoku to attend the Antiques Fair there two or three times every year. To contact, call TEL 0877-49-4838. You can find a list of all Antiques Fairs in Japanese here:

In the big hall there are about 250 stalls from antiques shops all over Japan, especially western Japan. Some of the shop owners have become friends over the years and bring nice pieces of Daruma san. So this time again, I found about 50 new ones, see Fig. 1. This time there was a wide variety of different things, from toys to ceramics, lunchboxes and ricewine poorers, incense burners - all in the shape of Daruma san. I will introduce some at later articles.

Next we did another part of the Shikoku Pilgrimage of 88 temples, this time from Nr. 80 to 82. I will write more about this pilgrimage and the Daruma Connection in a later article. It was a fine autumn day and driving up to Nr. 81 we had a superb view of the new big bridge that connects Shikoku with the Main Island of Honshu. At the temple Shiramine-ji (White Peak Temple) I found two small plastic talismans (mamori: see a later article) with Daruma in red and white with eyes popping out. At the back they had a little hole and behind a glass window there was Kooboo Daishi sitting there like a real “Buddha inside a Buddha” (tainaibutsu) in a wooden statue. This talisman with two important figures to support you, I hope it is quite powerful.
Have a look at Temple Nr. 81 at:

Temple Nr. 82, Negoro-ji, is located in the middle of a dense forest on a high mountain. There again I found a little red talisman of Daruma with a hole in the back, but this time a little frog was peeking out of it. Before I continue about the Frog, have a look at the Temple:

Some years ago I bought a talisman of a small writing brush at a temple in Kamakura and the priest told me: "Its one thing to buy a talisman, but do not expect to get better with your calligraphy! You have to use your own brush and practise every day, just like the frog never gives up climbing a tree once he has set his mind to it!"
I have heard about this diligent frog from my professor of East Asian Art at Heidelberg University: Professor Seckel had told us the story of Ono no Doofuu 小野道風(894-966), a famous calligrapher during Heian Period, who had watched a frog trying to climb a tree and got a hint from this to practise diligently himself. He finally became one of the three famous calligraphers of his time together with Fujiwara no Sukemasa and Fujiwara no Yukinari. In the DARUMA Magazine 1995 you find a picture of a plate with Ono no Doofuu sitting at a pond watching a frog. (Fig. 2).. You can read more about this story in the DARUMA magazine.

Daruma Pilgrims in Japan: Dietrich Seckel

Gabi Greve

岡山県に1995年に引っ越してから毎年の高松古美術フェーアが楽しみです。季節によって、栗林公園もいつも綺麗な顔を見せてくれます。 展示所は広いホールで、全国から250の骨董品の店が並んでいますからすべてを見るまでとても疲れます。主な店は西日本からですが、東北からの出前店もある。私たちは毎回行きますので、多少お店の主人とも中がよくなって、いつも珍しいダルマさんをもってきてくれます。ありがたいことです。2001年の12月の“ダルマ狩”も50個以上の大収穫でした。写 真一枚に収まらないぐらい(写真1)。(ちなみに去年は値段がだいぶ下がりました)。玩具から根付まで、まじめなものからユーモラスなもの、口を大きく開けての灰皿ダルマ、高崎の古い弁当箱、オカメダルマに福助ダルマ、香炉、徳利、杯など。また写 真を作って紹介したいと思います。

次の日はお遍路さんになって、80番の国分寺から82番の根香寺まで参りました。素晴らしい晩秋の青空に目の下の大橋が見え、恵まれたお参りでした。81番の白峰寺で面 白いお守りを見つけました。目が出る小さい赤と白なプラスチックのダルマさんの背中にガラスの窓みたいな処にお大師様が座っています。まるで本格的な体内仏のようです。 達磨大師や弘法大師が一体となって、力強いお守りです。 82番の根香寺にも目が出るプラスチックなお守りのダルマがありましたが、背中には穴があいて小さい金色の蛙が頭を出します。蛙といえば面 白い話を思い出しました。鎌倉のお寺で筆のお守りを買ったことがあります。その筆の中にも小さい蛙が隠されています。お坊さん曰く:“筆の守りを買って、書道が上手になると大間違いです。蛙が何回も何回も枝に登って落ちるように毎日筆をもって字を書くと上手になるのです。”起き上がりそのものですよね! 蛙の話をハイデルベルグ大学の仏教美術の大先生のセッケル教授にした時、彼がまだその裏にもう一つの話があったのです。不思議なことに同じ話がDARUMAと言う日本古美術マガシンの1995年版にも絵付けのお皿と一緒に載ったのです(写 真2)。時代は平安になります。小野道風(894-966)と言う有名な書道家の話です。彼はある日、池の辺りに座って蛙を観察しました。蛙が何回も枝に登ろうとし、まだ落ちてしまいました。その“負けない精神”に目覚め、彼自身もそのあと一生懸命筆をもって、書道の練習し、藤原のスケマサや藤原のユキナリと同様、平安時代の三大な有名書道家になったのです(写 真2)。 お寺参りはいつもありがたいものです。ちょっとつまらないプラスチックなダルマさんにも面 白い裏話が隠れています。


Daruma-Hunting in Takamatsu-
Visiting Temples Nagao-ji and Ookubo-ji

April 2002

Since we had a lot of time, we decided to visit Tempels Nr. 87 and 88 on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Nr.87 was quite small and quiet. I got two Mikuji Daruma (Fortunetelling), white and red, with a Fortunetelling note saying I was in medium luck.
But I found the same type of little Daruma doll later at a local antiques store for one third of the prize - and of course no note inside!
Mikuji Daruma ... だるまみくじ 達磨御籤 Fortune-telling Daruma

Next we drove up to Ookubo-ji, temple Nr. 88 , 大窪寺(おおくぼじ)
which is located at the foot of two high mountains, symbolizing the two important Mandalas of Esoteric Buddhism. Since it is the last temple of the pilgrimage, you put the walking stick, which is an incarnation of Kooboo Daishi himself, at a special place to rest there. The compounds are big, with many interesting buildings and other monuments, and a huge Gingko-Tree shadowing it all. The view down the steep valley to the pink cherry blossoms was just breathtaking. On the stone stairway up to the temple was a simple little stone statue of a Hime Daruma (Daruma as a Princess) - at least that is what the statue looked to me.

ISHI Ookubo-ji no Hime


But now lets go Daruma-Hunting in the local souvenir shops.
A group of eight little wooden Daruma sitting on three wooden measures of ricewine (masu), bringing you "a lot of good luck" (masu-masu). Mamori of two small Hime Daruma in red and white and one mamori with a small plastic Daruma with eyes popping out and Kooboo Daishi sitting in a hole in his back. I got the same ones at other temples last time, as I wrote before. On the way back we passed a rest area where local specialities are sold. 長尾道の駅。And just as expected, there was another special Daruma waiting.
. Since Temple 88 is the last, it signifies your wish has been granted, your vow fullfilled (ketsugan, kechigan 結願).

And on the body a large sign saying: Ketsugan Daruma! So here again we find a natural combination of Kooboo Daishi and Daruma Daishi on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. These impressive Darumas are made by Mr. Fujii Hiroyuki, Samukawa-Choo Ishida-Nishi 2585-2. 藤井博行 寒川町石田西2585‐2 The kind lady at the store even checked the telephonebook, but Mr. Fujii was not listed. They sell from 2000 to 5000 Yen, according to size.

Further down the road we passed an antiques store and had a look. What a heaven! I got nine pieces with Daruma san and my husband a few other items of strong wood - together with quite a bargain price for all this. But when I tried to hard to lower the price, suddenly the old owner (a smiling Daruma himself) got angry and said: "One more word and I will not sell you anything. I am not a junkyard, you know" I am sure we will be back. Most of this catch was roughly carved wooden Daruma and Sanukibori Daruma, which are described in the next part. We spend the next day at Konpira san, so see you there.

Konpira Daigongen 金毘羅大権現

. Temple 88 Ookuboji 大窪寺 Okubo-Ji .

. . . . .

***** . Masumasu Daruma 升々だるま measuring cups .

***** . Folk Toys from Kagawa .


- #konpira #kompira #shikoku -

1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Kochi
幡多郡 Hata district 西土佐村 Nishi-Tosa village // 石神さん
. kannazuki 神無月 month where the Kami are absent .
kami no rusu 神の留守 the gods are absent
This is the 10th lunar month, when the Kami father at 出雲 Izumo.
During that time Izumo no matsu 出雲の松 the pine of Izumo begins to bend.
Konpira san 金毘羅さん and 石神さん Ishigami san do not go.