shin-no-mihashira 心の御柱
KEY WORD : architecture / shrines
Also called shin-no-hashira 心の柱, imibashira 忌柱 or 斎柱, or shin-no-mihashira 真の御柱. Non-structural, sacred and symbolic posts that are hidden by the main sanctuaries *shouden, 正殿 built over them at Ise Jinguu 伊勢神宮 in Mie prefecture. One post is buried beneath the Inner Shrine, Naikuu 内宮, but the one at the Outer Shrine, Gekuu 外宮, projects above ground. However, it does not reach the floor above it. The diameter of both posts is about 10cm and they are both about 2m long. These posts also exist under protective covers in the empty site adjacent to the present main sanctuary. Each reconstruction on the adjacent site will be erected over these posts. Shin-no-mihashira are used also for buildings constructed in the Taisha style *taisha-zukuri 大社造. For example, at Izumo Taisha 出雲大社 (rebuilt 1646), and Kamosu Jinja 神魂神社 (1573), both Shimane prefecture. Traditionally, the felling of timber for shin-no-mihashira was an exceedingly important and solemn ceremony performed at night. Preparing and placing the timber was a sacred rite and could be carried out only by Shinto priests. If the shin-no-mihashira was damaged or fell over it was removed to a temporary shrine. The date of the post construction was determined by imperial decree and it coincided with ground breaking ceremonies for a shrine building. From the beginning of the Kinsei period, the imperial decree for this ceremony was discontinued. Today the post setting and ground breaking ceremonies are performed on different days.

*shinmei-zukuri 神明造, *uzubashira 珍柱 

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