Monday, October 27, 2014
The Old Stone Lions of Sokei in Ginoza Okinawa
It took a few days searching to find these gems.
The dates manufactured may take even longer if, they have been recorded anywhere.
They aren't the typical Shisa (Lion Dogs) you see throughout the Ryukyu Islands.
Rather than, being clay, fired up in a kiln and glazed, these are made of natural stone.
A publication from the Village of Ginoza is what got me looking for the stone statues.
The folks in Sokei, don't call them Shisa. They are Ishigantou, to the people of Ginoza.
Also, spelled, Ishiganto, these are talismans believed to ward-off evil.
The first one was located, fairly easily, as it was at the edge of a field bordering a road.
The second one we found, tucked away at an intersection near some vending machines.
Sometimes, I back-off with the camera to show the surroundings.
A historical marker like this, comes in handy for research, too.
So, I shot it at a readable angle for further research.
The Map It Okinawa dude and I, had some difficulty locating Ishigantou #3.
It was starting to get dark so, we called off the search.
The following night, we were out, doing our Halloween ghost hunting stuff.
It was dark outside and felt like a rain storm was blowing in.
No ghosts were going to be found so, we decided to drive through Sokei at night.
Probably, because neither of us believes in ghouls and ghosts, this thing showed up.
It was Ishigantou #3, we couldn't spot in daylight, the day before !
Photo taken: OCT 26 at 12:15AM
The manual from Ginoza Village explains the three Ishigantou.
They were placed at the north, south and west boundaries of the village.
The purpose: To protect the area from evil winds, coming from mountains, in those directions.
In the ninth month of the Chinese Calendar, on the fifth day, guess what happens ?
Cows, get sacrificed, to drive evil spirits away, at all three Stone Lions.
This is the kind of thing, I'm always looking for and, wanting to write about.
Out of the way, ceremonies in small communities are, waiting to be documented.
Where the heck is the Chinese Calendar, when, I really need one ?
A handy PDF can be downloaded from the Government of Hong Kong.
And, you can do simple conversions between calendars with it.
Excuse me. I have more ghost hunting to do.