Photographer's Note

This is the "Namahage no Tama" (Namahage Ball), an 10 foot sphere surrounded by tall Sugi (Japanese Cedar) trees, located near the entrance of the Namahage Museum.

The Namahage is a local folk tradition of the villages on the Oga Peninsula, Akita prefecture. Every year in January the young men of the village dress up as demons, and go from house to house, terrorising the locals to find and punish lazy children.

This ball is coated is a mosaic that symbolises the Namahage, and its importance to the people of Oga.

From my essay on the Namahage (in the context of discussing the number of Namahage demons in the tradition):
"Outside the Namahage Museum, nestled among some trees, is an enormous sphere decorated with a mosaic over its surface. This is called the Namahage Ball – Namahage no Tama – and, according to the plaque beside it, was installed outside the Namahage Museum in July 1999. According to the writing on the plaque, this art installation symbolises “Oga’s seas, mountains, night sky and” – most intriguingly – “three Namahage”. With all of the images of two Namahage, one with a red mask and one with a blue mask, and the tradition being for a pair of Namahage to enter a house, this is the only reference to three Namahage that I have seen. The exact wording of the plaque is “Oga no Umi to Yama to Yozora to Santai no Namahage”. “Santai no Namahage” could simply mean “three Namahage”, but the usage of “tai” (also read as “karada”) suggests the counting of bodies or even forms. Unfortunately, looking as my photographs of the sphere, the artwork is far too impressionist, comprised of shapes and colours to spark the imagination, rather than clearly showing three Namahage figures which could be compared and analysed, making a clear conclusion difficult."

More information on the Namahage Museum:

Technical: Photo has been rotated 2 degrees anticlockwise, cropped slightly on the bottom, and resized for posting to TE.

auldal, ChrysK, BennyV ha contrassegnato questa nota come utile

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Additional Photos by Richard Eccleston (Klapaucius) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 28 N: 161] (627)
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