Friday, December 17, 2010

Shinto-watercolor on sketchbook page

Brief history of Shinto:

Shinto is an ancient Japanese religion. Starting about 500 BCE (or earlier) it was originally "an amorphous mix of nature worship, fertility cults, divination techniques, hero worship, and shamanism."  Its name was derived from the Chinese words "shin tao" ("The Way of the Kami") in the 8th Century CE. At that time:
bulletThe Yamato dynasty consolidated its rule over most of Japan.
bulletDivine origins were ascribed to the imperial family.
bulletShinto established itself as an official religion of Japan, along with Buddhism.
The complete separation of Japanese religion from politics did not occur until just after World War II. The Emperor was forced by the American army to renounce his divinity at that time.
Unlike most other religions, Shinto has no real founder, no written scriptures, no body of religious law, and only a very loosely-organized priesthood.

There is a tiny Shinto shrine in back of the Art Complex Museum.
It was donated by the MFA and sits by the pond.  

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