- Museum number
Amulet (omamori) (a) in the form of a tortoise with a white synthetic loop on one shoulder to which are attached a white plaited cord (used to attache the amulet in use), a golden plaque in the shape of ancient Japanese coins (with written data: place names, Amanohashidate and Monju-do, and amuletic functions, for safe travel) and a bell. The tortoise is made of Kyoto chirimen silk, yellow for the belly and head, tie-dyed motif of green and white for the shell, and grey felt for the paws. Five long orange strands form the tail and two black beads the eyes.
The amulet is sold mounted on a card (b) which is printed with the names for Monju-do and Chie-ji and added information on the specific function of this amulet and an entreaty to go slowly and at a leisurely care-free pace.
- Production date
Height: 14 centimetres (amulet a)
Length: 13.80 centimetres (card b)
Weight: 3 grammes (amulet a)
Weight: 2 grammes (card b)
Width: 4.10 centimetres (amulet a)
Width: 6.10 centimetres (card b)
Depth: 0.80 centimetres (amulet a)
- Curator's comments
- Omamori are amulets that are carried about the person. They are bought primarily in temples and shrines throughout Japan and usually carry its name as well as specifications on their protective function. They are most commonly made of little silk pouches that contain a piece of paper with a stamp or prayer and sometimes an image. However, it is considered bad luck to open them and many are sealed. The omamori in this collection have not been opened.
The function of an amulet is indicated in a variety of ways, through writing, symbolism and visual puns.
The sound of bells wards off evil.
The tortoise or turtle is most often associated with longevity but in this case also uses imported connotations of slow (and therefore safe) travel.
Although the motif is of tie-dyed, this appears to have been printed on the silk. But as Kyoto chirimen silk is particularly known for its tie-dyeing, this is an appropriate motif.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Acquired for the BP Showcase Exhibition on 'Souvenirs in Contemporary Japan'. British Museum Department of Ethnography; field collection.
- Registration number