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KANTO

“Ainu Crafts: Patterns with a Prayer”

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum

by Tomohiro Osaki

Staff Writer

Ainu are the aboriginal people of Hokkaido, who have a history characterized by years of deprivation and forced cultural assimilation. In the face of such hardships, the Ainu believed in the omnipresent existence of God in their everyday life, which long ago led them to worship almost everything around them. Particularly symbolic of their strong belief in God is the way they decorated their daily utensils and clothes with a certain traditional pattern, which they believed warded off evil spirits. While women intertwined their clothes with such patterns, men engraved it onto their hunting equipment. This exhibition will display about 100 Ainu artifacts that reveal their passionate animism; till June 2.

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum; (03) 3467-4527; 4-3-33 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo; Komaba-todaimae Station, Keio Line. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ¥1,000. Closed Mon. (except April 29, May 6), April 30, May 7. www.mingeikan.or.jp