During the old times there was a custom to bring horses to the Shinto shrines, as invocations to the kami. Of course, this was impossible for common people, so the horses were replaced by symbols such as the drawing of a horse on a wooden plaque, with the the prayer written on the backside. Thus appeared the votive plaques known as ema.
Today, the ema plaques are extremely varied, featuring besides the original horse drawing many other themes such as kami drawings, festivals, buildings or statues. Photographed here is an ema of the Muga sozan Ofuna Kannonji temple, representing the local Kannon statue.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: