Aridooshi 蟻通
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A shrine in Izumi 和泉 province, Osaka. Best known from a tale about the famous poet Ki no Tsurayuki 紀貫之 (ca. 868-945), who was passing Aridooshi Myoujin 蟻通明神 one rainy night when his horse suddenly fell ill. The puzzled Tsurayuki was informed that the horse fell ill when the god of Aridooshi cursed Tsurayuki for passing his shrine on horseback. Tsurayuki thereupon offered the following verse to appease the god: "Unable to discern anything in the overcast sky, if it was Aridooshi, I should have known/if there had been stars (ari to hoshi 蟻と星), I would have known!" (Kaki-kumori/ ayame mo shiranu/ oozora ni/ aritohoshi woba/ omou-beshi yawa かき曇り/ あやめもしらぬ/ 大空に/ ありとほしをば/ 思ふべしやは). The poem depends on the pivot-word ari to hoshi, also read aridooshi. This incident was turned into a *nou 能 play by Zeami 世阿弥 (1363-1443) in which the god of ARIDOOSHI plays the leading role, shite シテ. It then entered the visual repertoire, as artists depicted Tsurayuki riding on a rainy night past a grove in which a shrine gate *torii 鳥居, can be seen, sometimes with the figure of an old shrine priest (in reality, the god of Aridooshi) with an umbrella and paper lantern. The later motif also is treated independently.


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