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Gion Festival Part 2

Gion Festival Part 2

£290.00
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3.6 KGS
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Gion Festival

The second half of the pair of screen prints depicting Kyoto's Gion Matsuri, one of Japan’s largest and most famous annual festivals. Taking place every summer, Yasaka shrine’s 1,100 year old religious celebration sees the city come alive as people gather to view this vibrant procession, and make an offering to the gods for good health.  The Gion Festival, familiarly known as Gion-san, is probably the most renowned of Japanese matsuri in terms of Japanese history, tradition and scale.  It has an impressive, long and almost uninterrupted history.   Created in 869 to appease the angry and tempestuous spirits responsible for the plague, this annual tradition continues today honouring a theme of purity and wellbeing.

The Gion Matsuri is arguably the most loved of Japanese festivals and the visual highlight is the splendid pageant of some 30 floats called 'yamaboko' proceeding along the main streets of Kyoto. Each float is two-storied and topped with a long pole shaped like a spear. Adorned with exquisite craftwork such as woven fabric, dyed textiles and sculptures, these floats are so gorgeous that they are sometimes even described as 'mobile art museums.' 

The word 'yamaboko' refers to the two types of floats used in the procession: the 23 yama and 10 hoko. One of the main reasons the Gion Matsuri is so impressive is the enormity of the hoko, which are up to 25 meters tall, weigh up to 12 tons, and are pulled on wheels as big as people. Both yama and hoko are elaborately decorated and represent unique themes. They are decorated with Chinese and Japanese paintings and even with French Gobelin tapestries imported during the 17th and 18th centuries. Just under their lacquered roofs musicians play flutes and drums. From the rooftops of the floats, two men toss straw good-luck favors to the crowds. The hoko roll slowly on their big wooden wheels, pulled with ropes by parade participants in ancient costumes.

This screen print is a perfect blend of ancient Japanese history and contemporary artistic design.

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