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斎宮歴史博物館 > English > Excavation of the Saiku Site > Development of the culture of writing

Development of the culture of writing

Lifestyle and rituals at the Saiku

Relics of ceremony of purifying a building site Documentary evidence and archaeological excavations shed very little light on what day-to-day life at the Saiku was actually like. Although they are very rare, gilt-bronze or gilt-copper artifacts, and wooden artifacts such as combs that occasionally turn up from the Saiku site, provide glimpses into the seemingly elegant lifestyles enjoyed at the Saiku.
  Earthenware vessels and copper coins, thought to have been used for rituals for pacifying the kami (deities) of the ground or land, have also been found at the site, providing new, undocumented information on daily life and rituals at the Saiku.

Development of the culture of writing

Earthenware inscribed with hiragana in black ink Compared to earlier periods, a greater numbers of excavated examples of earthenware vessels bearing ink inscriptions dating from the 9th century onward have been found. The inscriptions are commonly the names of government offices, or characters considered auspicious. Earthenware dating from the 10th century onward occasionally bear inscriptions in the Japanese hiragana syllabary. Earthenware inscribed with hiragana are more frequently found within the blocks of the Saiku called the Naiin, where the living quarters of the Saio were. These hiragana inscriptions may have been written by women serving the Saio, because in ancient court society hiragana was used mainly by women.

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