A Hand Painted Folk Ko Ema: Shinto Votive Plaque

$195.00 USD

mid twentieth century
image size: 6" x 7", 15 cm x 17.75 cm

This is a charming, hand painted wooden tablet showing a tethered horse which is dressed in fanciful festival wear.

This painted plaque is a ko ema.  

ema is a votive tablet offered by an individual to a Shinto temple either in petition for a favor or in thanks for a favor received.  Some ema can be very large and hand painted.  They can depict battle scenes, sailing ships or other elaborate images.  Ko ema are small votives which were mass-produced by itinerant painters who would sell the goods on roads leading to, or in front of, a shrine.

This ema depicts a horse; the horse is the traditional or original form of the ema which literally means "picture horse."  In old Japan, horses were donated to Shinto shrines and as they were a luxurious donation, the tradition of donating a painted image of a horse became a popular way for those of lesser means to petition the gods of the shrine.

A wonderful, collectible and particularly well-painted and colored ema with rustic appeal.


A Hand Painted Folk Ko Ema: Shinto Votive Plaque