magatama

Enlarge picture
Jomon to 8th century magatama
Magatama (勾玉| or 曲玉|), are curved beads which first appeared in Japan during the Jōmon period

They are often found inhumed in mounded tumulus graves as offerings to deities (see grave goods). They continued to be popular with the ruling elites throughout the Kofun Period of Japan, and are often romanticised as indicative of the Yamato Dynasty of Japan. Some consider them to be an Imperial symbol, although in fact ownership was widespread throughout all the chieftainships of Kofun Period Japan. It is believed that magatama were popularly worn as jewels for decoration, in addition to their religious meanings. In this latter regard they were later largely replaced by Buddhist prayer beads in the Nara period.

In modern Japan, the magatama's shape of a sphere with a flowing tail is still the usual visual representation of the human spirit (hitodama). Wearing one during life is considered a way of gaining protections from kami.

Yasakani no Magatama

The most important magatama is the Yasakani no Magatama (八尺瓊曲玉, also 八坂瓊曲玉), which is part of the Imperial Regalia of Japan, added some time around the Heian period. The Yasakani no Magatama stands for benevolence, and is one of the three items used in the ceremony of imperial ascension. In Japanese mythology, the jewels, along with the mirror, were hung on the tree outside of Amaterasu's cave (where she had hidden) to lure her out. It is believed to be a necklace composed of jade magatama stones instead of a solitary gem as depicted in popular culture. It is believed to be enshrined in Kokyo, the Japanese Imperial Palace.

In popular culture, the Yasakani no Magatama has been presented as a baseball-sized orb with a tail, similar to a three-dimensional comma, cored through by a hole in the center. It is thought that the original magatama was broken somehow and crafted into the jade necklace that is the current one, though there is no historical evidence that points to this.

Origins

Enlarge picture
Necklace of jade magatama from a Japanese burial


The origins of Magatama are controversial. Some archaeologists believe that magatama originated in Japan before spreading to the Asian continent through Korean peninsula. [1] [2] [3]. A statement by Charles T. Keally, an archaeologist studying the culture of the Kofun period, states:

The magatama's origins are more controversial. These curved jewels of jadeite are common in Kofun Period burials, and they are common also in Korean sites of the same age. This fact seems to have led most archaeologists to conclude that the magatama originated in Korea. But magatama are found in Yayoi sites, too, and unquestionable true magatama are reported also in Jomon sites in Tohoku as early as about 1000 B.C., long before true magatama appeared in Korea.[4]


However, the subject remains controversial.

See also

References

External links

  • Jadeite by the Canadian Institute of Gemmology
Japanese mythology and folklore
Mythic texts and folktales:
Kojiki | Nihon Shoki | Otogizōshi | Yotsuya Kaidan
Urashima Tarō | Kintarō | Momotarō | Tamamo-no-Mae
Divinities:
Izanami | Izanagi | Amaterasu
Susanoo | Ama-no-Uzume | Inari
List of divinities | Kami | Seven Lucky Gods
Legendary creatures:
Oni | Kappa | Tengu | Tanuki | Fox | Yōkai | Dragon
Mythical and sacred locations:
Mt. Hiei | Mt. Fuji | Izumo | Ryūgū-jō | Takamagahara | Yomi
Religions | Sacred objects | Creatures and spirits
A bead is a small, decorative object that is pierced for threading or stringing. As an alternative to piercing, plastic beads may be Moulded Onto a Thread during manufacturing; these MOT
..... Click the link for more information.
Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.
If you are prevented from editing this page, and you wish to make a change, please discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or .
..... Click the link for more information.
A tumulus (plural tumuli, from the Latin word for mound or small hill, from the root tum- "to bulge, swell" also found in tumor and cognate with English thumb
..... Click the link for more information.
grave is a place where a dead body (usually a human, although sometimes an animal) is buried. The grave is usually in a graveyard or cemetery.

Graves may contain objects that provide clues for archaeologists about the life and culture of the time.
..... Click the link for more information.
Sacrifice (from a Middle English verb meaning "to make sacred", from Old French, from Latin sacrificium: sacer, sacred; sacred + facere, to make) is commonly known as the practice of offering food, or the lives of animals or people to the gods, as an act of propitiation or worship.
..... Click the link for more information.
deity or god is a postulated preternatural or supernatural being, who is always of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings.
..... Click the link for more information.
In archaeology and anthropology grave goods are the items buried along with the body.

They are usually personal possessions, supplies to smooth the deceased's journey into the afterlife or offerings to the gods. Grave goods are a type of votive deposit.
..... Click the link for more information.
government is a body that has the power to make and the authority to enforce rules and laws within a civil, corporate, religious, academic, or other organization or group.[1]
..... Click the link for more information.
Elite (also spelled Élite) is taken from the Latin, eligere, "to elect". In sociology as in general usage, the élite is a relatively small dominant group within a larger society, which enjoys a privileged status which is upheld by individuals of lower social status
..... Click the link for more information.

..... Click the link for more information.

..... Click the link for more information.
A dynasty is a succession of rulers who belong to the same family for generations. A dynasty is also often called a "house", e.g. the House of Saud or House of Habsburg.
..... Click the link for more information.
Japan

This article is part of the series:
Politics of Japan


  • Politics of Japan
  • Constitution

  • Emperor (list)
  • Akihito
  • Imperial Household Agency

  • Government

..... Click the link for more information.
Symbols are objects, characters, or other concrete representations of ideas, concepts, or other abstractions. For example, in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, a red octagon is a symbol for the traffic sign meaning "STOP".
..... Click the link for more information.
Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate, intellectual property or some other kind of property. It is embodied in an ownership right also referred to as title.
..... Click the link for more information.
tribal chief is the leader of a tribe, or the head of a tribal form of self-government.

The notion of a "tribal chief" is rather vague and arbitrary; neither chief nor tribe
..... Click the link for more information.
Prayer beads are traditionally used to keep count of the repetitions of prayers, chants or devotions by adherents of religion. Since the beads can be fingered in an automatic manner, they allow one to keep track of how many prayers have been said with a minimal amount of conscious
..... Click the link for more information.

..... Click the link for more information.

..... Click the link for more information.
Kami (
..... Click the link for more information.
The Imperial Regalia of Japan (三種の神器 Sanshu no Jingi
..... Click the link for more information.

..... Click the link for more information.
A coronation is a ceremony marking the investment of a monarch with regal power through, amongst other symbolic acts, the placement of a crown upon his or her head. Where the monarch is anointed, the ritual may have religious significance.
..... Click the link for more information.
JADE was the codename given by US codebreakers to a Japanese cipher machine. The Imperial Japanese Navy used the machine for communications from late 1942 until 1944. JADE was similar to another cipher machine, CORAL, with the main difference that JADE was used to encipher messages
..... Click the link for more information.
Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.
If you are prevented from editing this page, and you wish to make a change, please discuss changes on the talk page, request unprotection, log in, or .
..... Click the link for more information.
A baseball is a ball used primarily in the sport of the same name, baseball. It is generally approximately 9 inches (22.9 cm) no more than 9¼ inches (23.5 cm) in circumference, and 5 ounces avoirdupois (142 g) in weight, though sometimes different-size balls may be used in
..... Click the link for more information.
Comma may refer to:
  • Comma (punctuation), a punctuation mark (,)
  • Comma (music), a kind of interval in music theory
  • Comma (butterfly), a species of butterfly
  • Comma (rhetoric), a short clause in Greek rhetoric

..... Click the link for more information.

..... Click the link for more information.
Japanese mythology is a very complex system of beliefs that embraces Shinto and Buddhist traditions as well as agriculture-based folk religion.The Shinto pantheon alone consists of an uncountable number of kami (Japanese for "gods" or "spirits").
..... Click the link for more information.
Shinto (神道 shintō
..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.