Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ainu tradition of wood carving

As I have mentioned in previous posts about Ainu design, wood carving was, and still is, "men's work." Both of the storybooks I've translated, and many more of the yukar, have scenes involving the menfolk carving wood-- sometimes tools and arrows, but often items of spiritual significance such as the inaw (sacred shaved sticks) and ikupasuy (prayer sticks). The photo posted here was borrowed with permission from a site called Old Photos of Japan, which displays photos of Japan between the 1860s and the 1930s, and includes some rare scenes from Ainu life. This particular photo shows an Ainu man carving what appears to be a prayer stick. Click here to read the informative article that goes with the photo. More about the purposes and designs of wood carving in my next post.