Jinpo (神宝)

Jinpo or kamudara refers to items which are stored within the inner sanctum located in the sanctuary of a Shinto shrine. It refers to items such as treasures, furnishing goods and costumes that have a close historical association with the enshrined deity. In a broad sense, treasures that have been passed down at the shrine through generations can be included. However, they are normally called shaho and are distinguished from jinpo.

Originally, jinpo was a group of ritualistic tools such as swords, jewels and mirrors. In ancient times, it symbolized the ruling clan's authority, and it was also used in religious rituals by the ruling clan. Examples include the ten types of jinpo in "Sendai Kujihongi" (Ancient Japanese History).

Later, images of gods were made, and the gods (Shinto) became personified. Then, many everyday items similar to the ones used by humans were included among jinpo. Examples include boxes, bowls, cosmetics and clothing. These jinpo items were replaced by the new ones at occasions such as shikinen sengu (transfer of a deity to a new shrine building once in a prescribed number of years), when the shrine building was renewed. At such an occasion, the jinpo until then is called the old jinpo. Some of them were kept at the shrine as shaho.

[Original Japanese]