dashi 山車
KEY WORD : architecture / shrines
Also called yamaboko 山鉾, hikiyama 引山, maiguruma 舞車,odoriguruma 踊車 and yatai 屋台. A float or vehicle used during a Japanese festival. It is pulled through the streets by people to a Shinto shrine (which is similar to a *mikoshi 神輿. Usually, a framework is built on a four wheel chassis, and above this, according to the locality and elaborateness of the festival, various forms are constructed, including a shrine building, boat or shapes of mountains. A well decorated pole may be raised high above the roof of the upper structure. The float is decorated with lanterns, dolls, sculpture, and even tapestries imported from Europe. Seated musicians play traditional music sometimes accompanied by dancers who use fans and other accessories. Large floats, such as those seen at the Gion festival *Gionmatsuri 祇園祭 in Kyoto July 17-24, seat many people within the upper part of the float. These people may play musical instruments, wave fans or chant. Before the Meiji period beginning in 1868 such floats were used at important ceremonies for greeting a deity, but after the end of Edo period, dashi have been employed only as parade decoration in major festivals. The storehouse for dashi is called dashigura 山車庫.


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