onohajime 斧始
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Sometimes written 斧始め. Also te-onohajime 手斧始, katanahajime 刀始. A ceremony performed when an artist is about to make a Buddhist statue. Onohajime was established in the Heian period when most Japanese sculpture was of wood. Thus, the ceremony is normally associated with wooden statues, although it is also thought to have been performed for bronze and clay figures. All the tools to be used and the block of wood for the statue are part of the ceremony. The block is known as *misogi 御衣木. The ceremony involves the sculptor drawing the image into the block, and then striking the block three times with an ax, accompanied by an incantation.


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