TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 6 1/4 X 8 inches (closed)
COMPONENTS: 17 pages.
REFERENCE EXTERNAL LINKS: Siddam Script

ITEM ID: 1018
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Shinto Prayers and Curses

DATE
Decade: 1800s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)

Manuscript of Shinto prayers and curses.

The title reads 呪咀道切法式. It’s a Shinto book but it also uses a lot of Siddham script. You can see the eclectic way that Buddhism and Shinto were all mixed up in the Edo period. Siddhaṃ (also Siddhāṃ), also known in its later evolved form as Siddhamātṛkā, is a medieval Brahmic abugida, derived from the Gupta script and ancestral to the Nāgarī, Assamese, Bengali, Tirhuta, Odia, Meitei and Nepalese scripts. The word Siddhaṃ means “accomplished” or “perfected” in Sanskrit. Many Buddhist texts taken to China along the Silk Road were written using a version of the Siddhaṃ script. Kūkai introduced the Siddhaṃ script to Japan when he returned from China in 806 A D, where he studied Sanskrit with Nalanda-trained monks. In Japan, the writing of mantras and copying/reading of sutras using the Siddhaṃ script is still practiced in the esoteric schools of Shingon Buddhism and Tendai as well as in the syncretic sect of Shugendō.

Scholar Avery Morrow commented, “This one is too cool! The title reads 呪咀道切法式. It’s a Shinto book but it also uses a lot of Siddham script. You can see the eclectic way that Buddhism and Shinto were all mixed up in the Edo period.”