AnyEveryLittleThings

Teru Teru Bozu Project

Teru Teru Bozu (literally “shine shine monk”)

A little traditional hand-made doll made of white paper or cloth that Japanese farmers began hanging outside of their window by a string. This amulet is supposed to have magical powers to bring good weather and to stop or prevent a rainy day. “Teru” is a Japanese verb which describes sunshine, and a “bōzu” is a Buddhist monk. Traditionally, if the weather does turn out well, eyes are drawn in and a libation of holy sake (神酒) is poured over them, and they are washed away in the river.Today, children make teru-teru-bōzu out of tissue paper or cotton, string and hang them from a window when they wish for sunny weather, often before a outdoor trip. Hanging it upside down – acts like a prayer for rain. They are still a very common sight in Japan.

Origin…

Hiyoribo (日和坊)– The Weather Monk

Hiyoribo is a legend that has been passed down for many years in Japan. He is said to come from the mountains of Hitachi-no-kuni—modern day Chiba prefecture—and his season is the summertime. Hiyoribo is said to be a yokai (Spirit) who brings sunny weather, and who cannot be seen on rainy days.

Toriyama Seiken illustrated the Hiyoribo in his picture-scroll “Supplement to the Hundred Demons of the Past,” and explained that this yokai was the origin of teru teru bozu. He said that when children hang up teru teru bozu and pray to them to bring sunshine into the rain, it is actually the spirit of the Hiyoribo that they are praying to.

Nursery Rhyme

There is a famous Japanesenursery rhyme, associated with teru teru bozu, written by Kyoson Asahara and composed by Shinpei Nakayama, that was released in 1921. Like many nursery rhyme, this song is rumored to have a darker history than it first appears. It allegedly originated from a story of a monk who promised farmers to stop rain and bring clear weather during a prolonged period of rain which was ruining crops. When the monk failed to bring sunshine, he was executed. Many Japanese folk historians, however, believe this story and others regarding the origins of teru teru bozu may have originated from long after the tradition had become widespread, most likely in an attempt to refine the image of the doll. It is more likely that the “bōzu” in the name refers not to an actual Buddhist monk, but to the round, bald monk-like head of the doll, and “teru teru” jokingly referring to the effect of bright sunlight reflecting off a bald head.

Lyric…

Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bōzu
Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure
Itsuka no yume no sora no yo ni
Haretara kin no suzu ageyo

Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bōzu
Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure
Watashi no negai wo kiita nara
Amai o-sake wo tanto nomasho

Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bōzu
Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure
Sore de mo kumotte naitetara
Sonata no kubi wo chon to kiru zo

Translation…

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
Like the sky in a dream sometime
If it’s sunny I’ll give you a golden bell

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
If you make my wish come true
We’ll drink lots of sweet sake

Teru-teru-bozu, teru bozu
Do make tomorrow a sunny day
but if it’s cloudy and I find you crying (i.e. it’s raining)
Then I shall snip your head off

This project investigate the connection between narrative (folklore of Teru), nature (weather) and humanity (cultural practice). A logbook will be recording the weather, teru teru bozu and activities involved daily.

 

 

 

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Sky Island

The City of Babylon- The Starting Point of Sky Island

Browsing through the past research topic I have done a few years back, I am compiling them to come up with a starting point for my new series of art works. Crazily addicted on the Mesopotamia art history. I were totally attracted by their biblical narratives of stone reliefs, magnificent architecture for religious purpose, their knowledge in astronomy and technology, and the sense of mystery they possess due to the lack of archaeological evidence to understand their civilization.

City of Babylon, just like what the word Babylon, the Gate of the God, it conjures in our mind a vision of wealth, splendor and fantasy. It’s mystical and heavenly beauty are the main features that attract my interest. A place I long to see it close upfront, but at the same time scared of the disappointment if it is going to be extremely different from my fantastical imagination. This city is almost like a myth, there nothing visible remained of its architecture. The Tower of Babel or the Hanging Garden are all wonders of the Babylon city,  accounting from writings, stories and archaeological research.

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Tower of Babel

According to the book of Genesis, an enormous tower was built in the plain of Shinar

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east , that they found a plain in the land of shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another. And they said one to another: ‘Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said: ‘Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said: ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:1-9)

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Numerous ancient narratives from different cultures or religions have account the existence of the heavenly realm and human countless attempts to reach the holy place. This attempts will continue and shall never end till the day people cease to exist. It is a human nature to answer their curiosity, or their greed for knowledge and power, or for a better life, or simply a fantasy realm for dreaming other possibilities. These ancient narratives will provide a gateway that connect to the concealed world above us.

The heavenly Sky Island exits somewhere in this world, this belief has been deeply embedded in our subconscious and will continue to pass onto future generation with a varies of modern reinterpretation. I will be researching on related tales and try to find the legendary heavenly sky island through modern reinterpretation and revise the tales and express through the language of Contemporary Art. In any case, it’s going to be a quest adventure.