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Artist's impression of Yata no Kagami
Artist's impression of Yata no Kagami

Yata no Kagami (八咫鏡) is a sacred mirror that is part of the Imperial Regalia of Japan.

Name and significance

The Yata no Kagami represents "wisdom" or "honesty," depending on the source. Its name literally means "The Eight Ta Mirror," a reference to its size and octagonal shape. Mirrors in ancient Japan represented truth because they merely reflected what was shown, and were a source of much mystique and reverence (being uncommon items). Japanese folklore is rich in stories of life before mirrors were commonplace.

History

In the year 1040 (Chōkyū 1, 9th month), the compartment which contained the Sacred Mirror was burned in a fire.[1] Whether that mirror was irrevocably lost or not, it is said to be housed today in Ise Grand Shrine, in Mie Prefecture, Japan, although a lack of public access makes this difficult to verify. Presently, a replica is enshrined in Three Palace Sanctuaries of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Mythology

In Shinto, the mirror was forged by the deity Ishikoridome; both it and the Yasakani no magatama were hung from a tree to lure out Amaterasu from a cave. They were given to Amaterasu's grandson, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, when he went to pacify Japan along with the sword Kusanagi. From there, the treasures passed into the hands of the Imperial House of Japan.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ackroyd, Joyce. (1982). Lessons from History: the Tokushi Yoron, p. 29.