Oribe Lantern Symbol

duckski(z8 SEA)April 25, 2005

Many Oribe lanterns have a symbol below the firebox, on the upper rounded portion of the pedestal. What is it? origin? significance? Thanks for the help!

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Whenever I've seen something carved on the pillar of an Oribe lantern, I think it's been below the upper rounded portion of the pillar. Can you show us a pictures of one with a symbol carved on the upper rounded part? There seem to be different opinions about figures carved lower down on the pillar -
Click here for one opinion

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 1:27PM
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duckski(z8 SEA)

A photo of a classic Oribe Lantern can be found on Shibumi Trading's website.
The praying figure at the base of the pedistal is clear, tho part of the symbol below the firebox is slightly in shadow, it can be seen too.See:

Here is a link that might be useful: Shibumi Trading Company

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 12:13PM
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Here's a bigger picture showing the inscription. My guess is that the lantern was made in China. I don't know whether the inscription is Chinese or Japanese though (to my inexpert eye) it looks Japanese: somebody who can read Chinese & Japanese characters may be able to tell us what it signifies.
Click here

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 11:49PM
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duckski(z8 SEA)

GREAT photo of the Oribe symbol. I have a basic familiarity with the Japanese writing systems, and of Chinese as well, and nothing comes to mind at all that corresponds with this.
I did find a Japanese site which claims is stands for "HIS", rotated 90 degrees right (I can see "his"...) but the site does not say what "HIS" stands for...

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Art and Architecture Net Users

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 1:23PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

it is reputed to stand for IESU (S), but it would be best to ask the carver, and this carving is not the 'classic' type of Oribe gonomi
(fyi, or anyone else, the Shibumi site has the Sangetsudo hibikuro base upside down amongst a few other erroneous tidbits, -please, for possible misinformation, do not use it as 'the best information source')
-hope this helps...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 3:12PM
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Here's another site with oddly assembled lanterns. It shows 4 Oribe style lanterns, all with similar carvings on the upper, rounded part of the pedestal - and all look as though they're made by the same manufacturer.

The second two of the 4 - which the site describes as "square" Oribes - appear to have the same error as was just mentioned - the platforms under the lightboxes look as though they're been set upside down. -

Click here to see

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 5:23PM
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duckski(z8 SEA)

Thanks to all for your help. This is what I have found out: the symbol appears to be "ihs", rotated 90 d. right.
"ihs" is called the monogram of Jesus, based on a,b,c spelling of the Greek name , Ihesus.

edzard says Shibumi's Oribe is not the "classic" one, but does not say what IS the classic one. J. Conder's 1890's book has a sketch of one which does not have this "ihs" symbol. It does have the praying figure at the base. Is that a "classic" Oribe? If that is the design that dates back to Oribe, perhaps the addition of the "ihs" is a modern addition? And perhaps that was added due to the reputation that Oribe Lanterns were used by Hidden Christians as a subsitute icon for Christ on the Cross?
I am still seaching for more information that could add to (or debunk) such speculation.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 6:44PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

? --
Conder's book is quite stilted in many areas.
Furuta's original form has only the Amida figure, give and take. Some claim there was no carving at all on the column.
Classic is not a term I would use, original form was not asked for.
IESU (IHS if you prefer) was added at a later time, whether a day or years would not be known, better as mentioned, to ask the carver.

I've never heard of a substitute icon (to be prayed too) however as a way of recognising a secret sect, yes, it would have been a marker.
The icons are interwoven into lacquer, weaving, netsuke, etc.

for the almost entire story, enter Oribe into the search field and the pertinent threads will come up, inclusive of Yamakami's conclusion in 3rd thread.
hope this search specific will help better than the last time...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 11:15PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Happy Thanks giving holiday to all.

Hi Herb
Long time past Since I posted last. ^^ I have much different opinion than yours.
First of all, If you study history of stone lantern, history of Buddhism stone art, personal life of Furuta, you will never get into this kind of non sense.
Oribe as war lord under Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Toyotomomi Hideyoshi, Both Shoguns baned Christianity. specialy under Tokugawa goverment policy. Believed to be 700,000 christian were wiped out within 30 years . It is said harsher than Nero.
Oribe is one of 7 deciples of Rikuy , Rikyu wasn't Christian. Oribe was sworn officer/samurai of Tokugawa who wiped out 700,000 Christians. If he didn't convert to Buddhisit, All of his family member be headed, all of his peoples depend on him as master lose everything. He never procecuted because of being christian nor his family.

second of all, if you look 12 or 13 century stone buddha statues, Some of curved on thin stone slate like oribe's stem/ kan you can see almost identical to oribe's curved figure. Christianty of Japann start only 1549. 200~300 years before Christianity came to Japan, look alike of the Oribe toro statue was exsisted.

I serched this matter long time and I believe that oribe toro has nothing to do with Christianity.
If you belive oribe toro has christianty , Please give me source of In formation. I look and study it.
One of Web site information is wrong. Oldest stone lantern parts is on ground of original Asuka ji site.
Oribe toro is not oldest of stone lantern.

Once I contacted ownwer of web site few years back about infor of orebe toro, he din't care to correct it. Since then I never try to contact to him.

Some time we have heated debate but as long as we respect each other good post like this will help others.
I have your address. If you like to see photos of pre christianty looke alike pilgram Statue, I am happy to send to you . respectfully. yama.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 7:16PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi duckski.
To find answer of the question you have, following will help you.
History of Japan between 1450 to 1700, life of Furuta Oribe, sen no rikyu, Hosukawa yusai, Hosokawa sansai and his wife, relationship of Koyasan/Shingon shu/sect temple with Hosokawa sansai and his wife( She was christian at the time). Hisoty of Daikakuji and What teach over there, Tokugawa Ieyasu to 5th Tokugawa shogun, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Oda Nobunaga, History of stone lantern, buddhism art specialy stone curving of Buddha/jizo bosatsu statues, History of Japanese Buddhism, History of Chistianty in Japan. That will give you some hint(s) ^^.

My gueestimate, If you lucky, by the year of 2010, and collection of books between 200 ~ 300 you will find something. You might need to study Japanese so that you can access to more information. by then you don't have to say" according to such and such person" you can find own confident answer. Don't trust web site information. offten they are not accurate or not enough informations.

good luck

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 3:49PM
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