Explanation of kamagami

Origin: In 1758 approximately 250 years ago, the Kamagami were first found enshrined in the Datehan(Name of a place of Miyagi Prefecture of period of the Middle Ages) period making it one of the oldest of its kind. The face of the Kamagami was traditionally hung on the ovens, pillars and wall as a religious symbol. It was mainly recognized as the protector of fire. However, as ancient historically recordings are not always precise, her functions differs and changed based on respective religious background. Others region has enshrined her not as a protector of fire but as a guardian to keep away evil spirits, thefts, and water accidents. Other claims that she brings fortune, prosperity and happiness to the family and not to mentioned protect the safety and growth of their children. Fortune of wealth is another legend which surfaces however, many of her symbolic meanings still remains a myth as there are too many legendary stories been told.
Area of Distribution: Mainly found in Northeastern part of Japan, especially in the northern Miyagi prefecture and southern of Iwate prefecture. Some can also be located around central and northern parts from the same clan. However, as life styles are improved and the progress of new reconstruction, many of them are destroyed and had decreased through the years
Materials: Kamagami is usually made from the remainders of clay from wall and oven to construct the face. The eyes and mouths are usually inserted with cups and shells of abalone. The wooden made Kamagami are mainly taken from trees of pine, chestnut, keyaki(Zelkova tree), sakura(bherry blossoms tree) and other trees.
Transitions: During the construction of a new house, tradesmen of carpenters and plasterer, religious priest and clergy(Syugensya,kannusi,Bussi) were the ones who made the Kamagami according to the face of the house owner. The face may have a predominately devilish angry face. However, hidden behind the angry face are some flashes of dull expressions and smiles. Today, the Kamagami are given to friends and relatives as a fortune bringer on auspicious occasion of house warming, new employments, retirements and even marriage anniversary. Especially, for new stores which need an opening push in their business and fortune.



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