Culture Corner: Shimenawa

Posted in Arcana on June 13, 2005

By Wizards of the Coast

Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

We've already described on magicthegathering.com how the world design of Kamigawa was informed by considerable research by R&D into Japanese myth and culture.

Today we look at one example from a John Avon-illustrated, card-drawing land in Saviors of Kamigawa: Mikokoro, Center of the Sea.

Mikokoro is the crystalline outcropping in the center of the frame. See those ropes and zigzag strips hanging from the peaks? Let's take a look at the art description to learn more about them.

The art description of Mikokoro, Center of the Sea reads:

Show an island off the coast that consists of a single immense boulder of uncut crystal or diamond that juts out from the sea. The boulder is strung with shimenawa, huge ropes that designate a sacred site in Shinto. Perhaps the clouds have parted and a sunbeam hits the boulder from above, accentuating its holiness and power.

Those ropes are called shimenawa. In Shinto tradition, they are often made from straw and strung with zigzag strips of white paper called gohei.

And gohei you may have seen before... or have you already long-forgotten the term since Champions?

Long-Forgotten Gohei

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