Shinto[Chapter 3]Considering Shinto from Different Viewpoints

The influence of festivals on art and science shows us that festivals are one of the basic components of our culture. The depictions of Shinto festivals and rituals allows us to understand the form and structure of those rituals. Detailed analysis of rituals has contributed to the yusoku kojitsu (study of rules, ceremonies and behaviour ) .In this part of the exhibition, specific aspects of festivals are analyzed from depictions of rituals and ‘Yusoku kojitsu’.

-Yusoku Kojitsu-

Among court nobles and samurai, proficiency in ceremonial etiquette was directly connected to their social reputation as a person. This meant that people in those social levels would investigate the origins and traditional meanings of everything, from how to deport oneself in a ceremony to what furnishings should be displayed on what occasions, in their pursuit of gaining a reputation for conducting themselves properly in ceremonies. The body of practices and ideas that arose from these developments is known as yūsoku kojitsu.
 Older precedents were emphasized when it came to shrine rites, and yūsoku kojitsu persists even today despite the enormous changes in the ways people live. The costumes and ritual implements used in religious festivals can be suitable materials for understanding the thinking and wisdom of our ancestors.

-The Depiction of Festivals-

Shrine festivals may be extremely complex, but as events capable of mobilizing large numbers of people with direct contact in the processions of portable shrines, festival floats, and other rituals, shrine festivals have always attracted interest.
 During the early modern period, Japanese revived various public festivals whose origins dated back as far as the Heian Period (784-1185).  These and other festivals drew even greater levels of interest from the public at large, and the events became suitable subjects for depiction on folding screen (byōbu). While the climactic parts of a festival were the main subject matter presented on such screens, the depictions also managed to include elements that allow us to see the landscape around the shrine, and help us understand the overall course of a festival.  These depictions contain many elements worthy of our consideration.