SHIMEKAZARI Japanese New Year Decorations made of Hemp

Japanese New Year Decorations made of Hemp


8 - 18 November 2019

10:00 - 18:00
closed on Tuesday

Following up our well received shimekazari show last year, we decided to offer a selection of original shimekazari again this year. Teaming up once more with the Yamakawa family, specialists in the traditional art of twisting and twining hemp fibers into shimenawa ropes for ritual use, we present five handmade shimekazari made of Japanese-grown hemp.

#001  “ SPECTACLES ”  W170×H310 (mm)
The “spectacles” (megane) offer a promising glimpse at the year ahead. Sacred ropes are usually made with a left-hand twist, but this shimekazari combines both left- and right-handed twists. A beautiful and sculptural artefact, the spectacles can be enjoyed as a pure objet d’art.

#002  “ BALL ”  W110×H370
The round circle symbolizes a perfectly round ball or sphere (tama). The classic tama motif imparts a sense of sacredness, gravity, and the self-fulfilling nature. Easily hung in entryways or on walls, this shimekazari works well as a gift or as a year-end greeting.

A new emperor assumed the throne in 2019, an occasion marked by many important imperial succession rites. One ritual, the Great Thanksgiving Ceremony (Daijosai), will take place on the evening of November 14. Emperor Naruhito will enter alone into a chamber within the palace to conduct the secret ritual, which entails offering freshly harvested rice and other bounty of land and sea to the imperial ancestors and deities of heaven and earth, then partaking in the meal with them. For rituals like this, which take place only once in a generation, the new emperor wears clothes made from simple, handwoven hemp-fiber fabrics. Hemp traditionally symbolizes the pureness, cleanness, and freshness of new beginnings.

Hemp has been used since the prehistoric Jomon period to make clothing, nets, rope, and other such goods. Lustrous and robust, hemp became an important medium for communicating purity and prayers to the gods as well. In shrines and temples, shimenawa serve to bound and separate pure spaces—those inhabited by gods and buddhas—from the impurities of the mundane world. The sacred ropes also play an important role in Sumo and traditional performing arts.

#003  “ DOVE ”  W210×H155
In both Eastern and Western cultures, the dove is regarded as a heavenly messenger, one that bears signposts of the gods and heralds peace. The dove motif, with its well-rounded and pleasing shape, has been used since ancient times as a shimekazari that protects the home.

#004  “ LADLE ”  W140×H260
This shimekazari, shaped like a ladle (shakushi or shamoji), carries the meaning of welcoming—literally “scooping up”—good fortune. Traditionally the decoration has been used to protect people and places connected to the food industry, and as a prayer for a safely gathered and abundant harvest in the coming year.

#005  “ RAIN AND THUNDERBOLT ”  W900×H300
A true masterpiece, this shimekazari features layers of hanging hemp fibers that evoke the numinous scenery of life-giving rain pouring down from heaven, accompanied by thunder and lightning. This classic design, simple yet refined, stands out among all the traditional designs of shimekazari.

We accept orders by phone and email.
Domestic and international delivery available.
Please understand that we can produce only a limited number of each motif.
10:00-18:00 closed on Tuesday