August 27, 2017

Nail Pulling Votive Panels

Shakuzō-ji Temple, Kamigyō-ku, Kyoto
Fujifilm Finepix X100

Shakuzō-ji Temple (石像寺), popular as Kuginuki Jizō (釘抜き地蔵), is a small temple located north of Imadegawa-dōri on Sembon, close to Sembon-shakadō (千本釈迦堂), Sembon-emmadō (千本閻魔堂), Hirano-jinja (平野神社) and Kitano-tenmangu (北野天満宮) in north west Kyoto. Kuginuki means "nail pulling" and refers to the legend of a merchant in 1556 who lived near the temple and felt terrible pains in both his hands. After praying to the Bodhisattva Jizō (地蔵菩薩, Jizō-bosatsu) for relief, the demi-god (半神, hanshin) appeared to him in a dream and told the sufferer that in a former life he had pierced the hands of an effigy of a man he hated. The spirit of his former enemy was now seeking revenge, so the man offered a set of eight inch nails and a pair of pliers to the temple in an act of atonement for this long-forgotten sin.

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