Japanese Prayer Board Ema Bamboo Snake & Clay Bell

Japanese Prayer Board Ema Bamboo Snake & Clay Bell


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This piece measures 4.5 inches high by 7 inches wide at the widest point. Ema, which means a picture of a horse in Japanese, was originally that, a wooden board with a painted picture of a horse. People wrote their wishes and prayers on the Ema and presented it to the shrine or the temple. Although in the beginning people presented actual horses when they made a wish, over the years people came to present pictures of horses instead. Today, Ema with other motifs are often used to make wishes as well.

It depicts a bamboo snake folk toy and a good luck clay bell. Each joint of the snake is articulated so that the toy moves side ways realistically. And for the bell, from ancient times people believed the clear sound of bells has a talismanic power.

The inscription reads "Prayer for good luck" and the label on the clay bell reads "good luck clay bell." The inscription on the back of the piece reads "Naritasan (Mt. Narita) Nagoya Betsuin (branch temple), Prayers" and
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