Matsukura Ema Lucky Charm – Wheel

A handprinted ema, picture horse on washi, from Hida, Gifu Prefecture.

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Ema, meaning ‘picture horses’, are auspicious talismans generally used on wooden tablets at shrines all over Japan. In Hida however, with origins in the Edo period (1603-1868 CE), these pictures appear instead on washi (Japanese paper) and can be seen hung on buildings and businesses. The horse carries a patterned bag that represents good fortune and as a result the pictures are positioned so that the horse’s head is facing inwards, as if carrying the good fortune into the building. The pattern decorating the bag is an auspicious motif itself and the picture also carries four-word prayers. Ema became particularly popular in the Hida area due to the fact that people relied greatly on oxen and horses and often prayed to Batō Kannon, a horse-headed bodhisattva to protect their livestock.
The pattern of the bag on this ema depicts the wheels of an oxen carriage, symbolizing nobility, while the prayers ask for a thriving business and good fortune.

Avoid moisture and direct sunlight.

Small Size: L40 cm x W30 cm

Large Size: L63 cm x W49 cm

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