Baku Mikoshi

Posted in Arcana on May 5, 2005

By Wizards of the Coast

Baku Altar

The art description for that Betrayers of Kamigawa spirit-generating artifact, Baku Altar, calls for a "mikoshi" or "palanquin shrine" shaped like a baku.

The baku are composite creatures from Japanese mythology: sometimes they sport the head of an elephant and the body of a lion. As you know, the baku in Betrayers of Kamigawa (Blademane Baku, Petalmane Baku, Quillmane Baku, Skullmane Baku, Waxmane Baku) are a cycle of spirits that gain abilities as you use Arcane magic.

But what is a "mikoshi," or a "palanquin"?

A mikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine that serves as the vehicle of a divine spirit in Japan at the time of a parade of deities. Often, the mikoshi resembles a miniature building, with pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing. Typical shapes are rectangles, hexagons, and octagons. The body, which stands on two poles (for carrying), is usually lavishly decorated, and the roof might hold a carving of a phoenix.
-- Google
A palanquin is a covered conveyance, usually for one person consisting of a large box with wooden shutters like Venetian blinds, carried by four or six (rarely two) men by means of poles projecting before and behind.
-- Google

So intead of having a miniature building or wooden box, Baku Altar has a statue of a baku. Now you know.

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