Imperial Regalia of Japan
("Sanshu no Jingi", or "Three Sacred Treasures")
The regalia represent the three primary virtues
: valor (the sword), wisdom (the mirror), and benevolence (the jewel
|AAA Jadeite magatama of the ancient Jomon closeup.
|may date to 1,000 to 10,000 years old, and possibly 33,000 to 38,000 years or more B.C.E.
The sword is located at Atsuta Shrine
, the mirror is located in the Ise Shrine
in Mie prefecture
, and the jewel is located at Kokyo
. Since 690
, the presentation of these items to the Emperor
by the priests
at the shrine are a central part of the imperial enthronement ceremony
. This ceremony is not public, and these items are by tradition only seen by the emperor and certain priests. Because of this,
no known photographs or drawings exist.
The illustration above is conjectural, but the closeup shown at right is an actual archeological find of a magatama deposited
during the Jomon period of ancient Japan. The symbolic meaning of a spherical ball with a flowing tail came to
represent the human spirit shortly after death, or hitodama
, arising from the briefly luminous gasses which could sometimes be seen near large repositories of decaying
organic matter. Thus magatama became widely popular as adornments of various kinds and as burial goods about 3000
years ago. Yet their origin is likely shrouded, as is much of human history, by the period of global disasters
and climate changes that occurred at the end of the last ice age between 23,000 and 10,000 years ago.
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