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Weaving and BindingImmigrant Gods and Female Immortals in Ancient Japan$
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Michael Como

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824829575

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824829575.001.0001

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Karakami and Animal Sacrifice

Karakami and Animal Sacrifice

(p.25) Chapter 2 Karakami and Animal Sacrifice
Weaving and Binding

Michael Como

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter investigates two issues that were closely related to the prominence of immigrant lineages and deities within Japanese cultic life. The first concerns the degree to which cults of karakami and disease deities were embedded within the worldview of the Chinese festival calendar. The principal focus in this regard will be a cluster of ritual practices such as animal sacrifice, roadside rites of propitiation and pacification, and the cult of the Weaver Maiden and the Cowherd, two of the best-known astral deities in the Chinese pantheon. A cluster of weaver and cowherd deities from locales across Japan that were adopted by the Yamato court prior to the Nara period is also examined. It is argued because the Yamato court's adoption of the Buddhist tradition was closely linked to a broader appropriation of continental political and cultural forms, the early Buddhist tradition both helped promote and to a surprising degree was in turn shaped by continental ritual technologies for the propitiation of spirits. The chapter considers a series of legends from the Nihon ryōiki, the oldest Buddhist tale collection in the Japanese islands. These legends suggest that the use of substitute bodies, the naming of spirits, and even meat offerings to spirits may have played an important role in the formation of popular Buddhist tales and beliefs.

Keywords:   Japanese cultic life, immigrant lineage, deities, karakami, Chinese festival calendar, Buddhist tradition, Nihon ryōiki, Yamato court

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