Posted by: softypapa | March 8, 2008

Vintage Shinto Kamidana Mirror Medium Size Altar Kagami

Vintage Shinto Kamidana Mirror Medium Size Altar Kagami Japan Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Vintage Shinto Kamidana Mirror Medium Size Altar Kagami Japan Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Vintage Shinto Kamidana Mirror Medium Size Altar Kagami Japan Japanese Tokaido Softypapa 


Vintage medium size mirror (kagami) for use with Japanese Shinto kamidana altar.  Mirrors such as this are commonly placed at the entrance to the shrine and are an important part of the Shinto religious setting.  Mirrors are significant in Shinto as the reflective surfaces are thought capable of revealing without prejudice the true aspect of any person or object placed before it.  The mirror is also one of the three sacred object of the Shinto tradition (the other two items are the sword and the jewel).  A mirror did also play an important role in early Shinto mythology.  Legend holds that the sun goddess Amaterasu did plunge the world into darkness after taking refuge in a cave while her storm god brother ravaged the earth.  The other gods were unable to coax her from her hiding place until a mirror was hung from a tree within sight of Amaterasu.  The goddess was so intrigued by the reflected image of her beautiful face that she came out of the cave bringing dawn and returning light to the world.

About the Listed Item

This medium-size (please see size information below) Shinto altar mirror is made of metal with a polished surface or reflective coating and includes a wooden display base.  This altar mirror is more than 20 years old and is in good condition though the base and mirror do have some marks, scratches and blemishes from handling and age.  The mirror is suitable for small to medium size kamidana.  Please read below to learn more about Japan’s native religion Shinto, and how this ancient faith and Buddhism have come to coexist together in modern Japan.  Please click here to see a smaller version of this same style altar mirror.

Height of mirror and display base: 4.0 inches (10.2 centimeters)
Diameter of mirror: 2.3 inches (6.0 centimeters)
Width of base at bottom: 2.9 inches (7.5 centimeters)
Weight: 1.5 ounces (43 grams)

Click here to see more Shinto altar mirrors!
here to see other Buddhist and Shinto items!
here to see additional treasures from Japan!

More about the Shinto religion

Shinto is one of the two major religions of Japan (the other is Buddhism).  Shinto is often considered to be the native religion of Japan, and is as old as Japan itself.  The name Shinto means “the way of the gods.”  Shinto is a pantheistic religion, in which many thousands of major and minor gods are thought to exist.  The Japanese have built thousands of shrines throughout the country to honor and worship these gods.  Some shrines are huge and are devoted to important deities.  Other shrines are small and may be easily missed when strolling along roads in the countryside (please see the photo below showing our daughter at a very small local shrine near our home in Japan).

Shinto gods are called kamiKami are thought to have influence on human affairs, and for this reason many Japanese make regular pilgrimage to community shrines in order to offer prayers to local kami.  The act of prayer involves approaching the shrine structure, passing through the gate-like torii (red gates in the shrine photos below), cleansing the hands and mouth with water and possibly ascending stairs to the main entrance of the shrine.  Usually without entering the shrine the worshipper will throw some coins into a stone or wooden collection box and then rattle the suzu bell which is at the top of a long hemp rope.  The worshiper grabs hold of the rope and shakes it back and forth causing the copper bell at the top to rattle.  This is thought to get the attention of the shrine god.  The worshipper then bows twice, claps his or her hands twice and then bows again.  In addition, the worshipper may clasp their hands together in silent prayer.  Shintoism and Buddhism have managed to find a comfortable coexistence in Japan.  Evidence of this harmonious relationship is found in the fact that that most Japanese are married in a Shinto shrine, but buried by a Buddhist priest.

item code: R4S3B1-0003420_01
category code: shintokagami
ship code: L1650

Shinto kamidana available at
Or visit us on eBay at The Old Tokaido

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