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Sengū Renewal of the Ise Shrine in 2013: Tradition and Rituals

Sengū Renewal of the Ise Shrine in 2013: Tradition and Rituals

Date: 11 November 2013Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 20 December 2013Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Library - Wolfson Gallery

Type of Event: Exhibition

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

The year 2013 marked the 62nd sengū renewal of the Ise Jingū, the ancient Shinto shrine in Japan where Amaterasu the Sun Goddess and the mythological ancestor of the present day Japanese imperial family is enshrined. Following the tradition that goes back to the 8th century, the entire shrine building as well as numerous auxiliary shrines at Ise are rebuilt every 20 years to preserve the pristine condition of the architecture. This distinctive tradition reflects the Shinto concept of eternal youth and purity. The completion of the new shrine building was celebrated in October 2013 with the sengū ceremony when the symbolic objects of worship were moved from the old to the new building in the adjacent plot. This photographic exhibition follows the various Shinto rituals that took place over the last eight years in preparation for the sengū.

The exhibition also features the works by a young British Architect Chaira Hall whose visit to Ise inspired her to create a series of drawings that narrate the process of the rebuilding. Chiara has employed a long horizontal format akin to the traditional Japanese emaki picture scroll to tell stories from the perspective of four kind of people involved in the rebuilding: Pilgrims, Priests, Towns people, and Carpenters.

The exhibition was organized in conjunction with the International Workshop “Sengū of the Ise Shrine: Tradition, Ideology, and Politics” to be held on 21 and 22 November 2013, hosted by the CSJR (Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions), SOAS.

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