Friday, September 6, 2013

Exact forms (Kurama IV, Kyoto CXXVIII)

Also Tengu is hiding in the hills of Kurama (see the last photo). This red-faced, long-nosed bird-man is a mountain spirit and Kuramayama is home to one of the most famous version of him. Dangerous but protective to people he is a master in martial arts. The yamabushi -mountain ascetics follow him and wear the same kind of black headpiece on their foreheads. This black box they wear is one the examples used in the Japanese-Jewish common ancestry theory (compare to Tefillin of the Orthodox Jews). Also some say that mikoshi, the portable shinto shrine could be originating from the Jewish Ark of the covenant.

Considering these as signs of ancient Jewish influence on Japanese culture or the idea that the Japanese or even some part of them would be originating from the ten lost tribes of Israel is still to be taken with a grain of salt and doesn't seem to be rooted to much more than seeming similarity and wishful thinking of the western missionaries and colonialists from the age of discovery. Japan is only one of the many countries that this theory has been applied to and no genetic link has been found to back this up.

Nevertheless the cultural influences from other countries around Asia are obvious, especially the major heritage from China, and we can't know for sure from how far came the furthest visitors to these islands. It's all a mix of forms both esoteric and exotic, but It's my wishful thinking to see the cultural forms also as universal and timeless without the need for detailed information of the origins and meanings, even though I desperately want that too. Could there be an universal archetype-like explanation to even the smallest details in the mythologies around the world? Does the formless occult take exact forms when visualized? Are aesthetics and function inseparable in the world of rituals?

Kurama, Kyoto, June 29th:

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