Sold Throughout the Islands
The Shisa are guardians of homes and businesses located in the Ryukyu Island Chain.
Properly positioned, the female is placed on the left, male on the right.
She's smiling and welcoming friends. He's growling to keep evil spirits at bay.
This year, it seems lots of folks, who've lived here are interested in buying the statues.
They are Americans, back in the USA and, forgot to buy them while on island.
Traditional statues are usually red clay, which has been molded and baked in an earthen oven.
These days, you can find all sorts of colored and comical ones.
Enough requests came my way, I decided to do some Shisa store exploration.
Permission was granted to photograph everywhere, I went.
But, I didn't use a flash or, move things around on the shelves.
Traditional statues, in pairs about, 12 inches tall, seemed to be what most folks wanted.
Over the course of a few months, I did comparison shopping all over this island.
There must be dozens of Shisa seen by me every day, just walking around.
So, I really wasn't all excited about shooting them in stores and pottery shops.
If, I thought ahead of time, a tape measure was brought along, to show sizes.
Here's what can be done if, you forgot to bring along the ruler. Size 12 flip-flop.
It must have been one of those days, I didn't want anyone to recognize me. Blue shoes ?
Now, I remember. It was raining that day so, I wore Brazilian sandals.
The yellow shima-zori, didn't have enough tread left on them, to keep from slipping.
The displays, aren't always good for checking prices and doing photo compositions.
Up high, I shot this to give an idea, the price is around 300 bucks.
This pair was a bit different looking that most of the red clay statues. Goofy, I think.
The price wasn't too bad, considering how tall the characters were.
Models of this sort could easily be mounted at gates or, upor rooftops.
Come to think of it, they'd make terrific bookends, too !
Shopping Really Isn't a Favorite Hobby of Mine
If it hadn't been for an old drinking buddy of mine, I probably would have quit by now.
Mr. H (we'll call him) and I have known each other for a few decades.
He must have lived on Okinawa for 30 years or more. Business took him to California.
Now, he wants some Shisa. What ?
Through a few emails I learned, he's looking for something more like this pair.
However, the specifications for size, needed to be 12 inches. How aout 11 ?
These little statues were only a few inches tall but, some of the least expensive ones, I found.
Taller than 12 inches was this set for $240.00 USD.
The establishment, was one of those places, yellow flip-flops are frowned upon.
So, I refused to take them off for measurement purposes. Hah !
In travelling up and down the island of Okinawa, I made a discovery at this place.
The most reasonable prices for Shisa can probably, be found in Yomitan Pottery Village.
The prices can vary wildly even, when the size to statues may be the same.
It could have something to do, with the artist, who made the creations. I don't know for sure.
At a location in Nago, you could spend anywhere from a few bucks to over $23.000 for a pair !
From another stateside friend, came this suggestion:
"Type Okinawa Shisa in the Search Box at Ebay."
They have plenty. Or, come visit Okinawa, again and, shop for yourself. I'm done.
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