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Painted Prayers: The Japanese Tradition of Ema

Presented by Bowers Museum at Bowers Museum, Santa Ana CA

Nov 15 2014
Painted Prayers: The Japanese Tradition of Ema

 Ema (literally, "picture horse") are wooden votive plaques on which visitors to Shinto shrines have traditionally written their prayers and wishes for the kami, or higher beings, to read. The tradition of offering ema to shrines goes back at least 1,000 years, to the time when worshippers offered pictures of horses (instead of actual horses) to shrines – a black horse when more rain was wanted, and a white horse when less rain was desired. Over the centuries, images associated with many

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