dousojin  道祖神
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Also sae-no-kami 塞の神 (also read sai-no-kami), dourokujin 道陸神, and other less common names. A folk deity who in Buddhism administers the border between this world and hell, and is associated with roads and travel. In his common Japanese form he is the deity of mountain passes, crossroads, and village boundaries who obstructs the passage of evil spirits and gods of disease. His cult is intermingled with many others, including those which practise sai-no-kawara 賽の河原, or keeping out evil spirits. He is associated with matters of fertility both in crops and humans beings, and also is found as a god of stones. Dousojin appear as stones of all sorts, often phallic or carved to show a single figure or a couple who may be in sexual union. Dousojin's *honjibutsu 本地仏 (Buddhist counterpart) is *Jizou 地蔵. His festival (called dondomatsuri ドンド祭, ,sai-no-kami or sagichou 左義長) is celebrated on the 15c and 16c of the first lunar month koshougatsu 小正月 and is a children's festival.


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