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The Prayers of the Ainu People

"The Prayers of the Ainu People"

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 16  March 22, 2017 (Wed) - June 11, 2017 (Sun)

Wooden Figurine, Sakhalin Uilta, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Hirako Hatsu)

The Ainu people believed that everything in their rich natural environment, from the vast plateaus of their native northern landscapes to the infinite expanse of the ocean, possessed a soul. Things which were essential to human life and beyond human capability were regarded as deities and worshipped. The Ainu believed that a stable lifestyle would be impossible without the provision and protection of the gods. They prayed for a life of continued peace, and held rituals to verbally express their gratitude toward the gods for heeding their prayers.
This exhibition features ritual items used by the Ainu people, including crowns and necklaces, as well as implements such as inau, iku-pasui, and wooden figurines. There are also various implements that were used in the ceremonial sacrifices of bears. Together with paintings of Ainu, these objects give us insight into how the Ainu people prayed to their gods.

Current exhibit includes:
Sea Turtle Skull, Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century
Sash for Shaman,
Sakhalin Ainu, 19th century (Gift of the Hokkaido Administration Office)
Ritual Staffs,
Hokkaido Ainu, 19th century (Transferred from the Bureau for the Vienna World Exposition)
Wooden Figurine,
Sakhalin Uilta, 19th century (Gift of Ms. Hirako Hatsu)
Accessories for Bear Cub,
Sakhalin Ainu, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada)
Ritual Hoe-shaped Crest,
Excavated at Sakurayama, Kakuta, Kuriyama-cho, Hokkaido, 19th century (Gift of Mr. Oda Katsukichi and Mr. Izumi Rintaro)
Portrait of Tobu, the Chieftain of Monbetsu, Ezo,
By Attributed to Kakizaki Hakyo, Edo period, dated 1783

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