Light Prayer Stick
On View: Asian Galleries, Arts of Japan, 2nd floor
Most Ainu religious rituals focus on the transfer of prayers and offerings from the human world to the spirit world. Carved prayer sticks, called ikupasuy, serve as translators and messengers between the worlds. They are held during prayers in most Ainu ceremonies; in rituals that involve rice wine, the stick is dipped in the wine so that droplets can be dedicated to the spirits. One of the prayer sticks shown here has a miniature wine cup carved on top. Ikupasuy are the only Ainu art form to include representations of animals, as seen in the fish and bear’s head on another example shown here.
late 19th - early 20th century
1 5/16 x 12 15/16 in. (3.3 x 32.9 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Herman Stutzer
Ainu. Light Prayer Stick, late 19th - early 20th century. Wood, 1 5/16 x 12 15/16 in. (3.3 x 32.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Herman Stutzer, 12.326. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 12.299_12.315_12.298_12.282_12.326_12.317_12.230_12.325_PS4.jpg)
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