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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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Shamanesses, Lavatories, and the Magic of Silk

Shamanesses, Lavatories, and the Magic of Silk

(p.109) Chapter 5 Shamanesses, Lavatories, and the Magic of Silk
Weaving and Binding

Michael Como

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how weaving cults influenced early representations of female shamans, or miko, in the Japanese islands. It discusses two closely related social/political phenomena: the formation of weaving service groups during the fifth century C.E. and the emergence of ancestral myths of weaving maidens in the royal mythologies of the Kojiki and the Nihon shoki. By taking both the influence and gender-specific nature of weaving and weaving cults seriously, the chapter not only emphasizes the importance of continental rites for the myths and legends of the royal cult, but also sheds new light upon the role of female shamans in the formation of the political and ritual dynamics that eventually led to the creation of the Nara state.

Keywords:   weaving cults, female shamans, weaving service groups, weaving maidens, Nara state

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