Prayer stick (ikupasuy). Carved with abstract designs and cross-hatching. The underside is incised with 'shiroshi' (symbolic script) marking.
- Made in: Hokkaido
- Length: 31 centimetres
- Width: 2.7 centimetres
- Depth: 0.5 centimetres
- Weight: 18 grammes
See AOA Christy Correspondence - undated, unsigned list of Ainu objects.
This is probably 'Ikubashi or drinking stick used by Ainos when drinking wine. It is waved round the cup, the point dipped in, and sprinkled and sprinkled towards the four quarters, then the moustache is lifted with it while the wine is being drunk.'Ikupasuy are ceremonial sticks used by Ainu men when making offerings to the gods and spirits. They are used in libation ceremonies when millet beer or sake is used as an offering. The central section is always decorated, here men can use any design they want. Animal and floral designs are popular but some sticks also have narrative and abstract design. At each end Ikupasuy have simple designs which represent the patri-lineage (male blood-line) of the man to whom it belongs. These designs are very important as they tell the gods and spirits who is making the offering. The female equivalent would be their secret woven grass belts the designs for which were handed down from mother to daughter. On the underside Ikupasuy are often (but not always) are carved with various symbols called ‘shiroshi'. A common ‘shiroshi' represents the orca or killer-whale (the long thin dorsal fin of this creature metonymically stands for the whole whale in the design). The pointed end of the stick is called the ‘tongue' of the Ikupasuy. In the past scholars mistakenly called these ceremonial and very important elements of Ainu material culture moustache sticks or moustache lifters.
1995-96, London, Museum of Mankind (Room 6), 'The Ainu of Japan'
- As1873C1.8110 (old CDMS no.)
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Object reference number: EAS2810
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