Muchikake (Wooden Pegs) (鞭懸)

Muchikake are composed of eight small wooden members, four of which project to the left and four of which project to the right, from the hafu (bargeboard) located underneath the ridge and beside the sasuzao (diagonal braces used to form the triangular frame in many gable pediments) on shinmei-zukuri style buildings. It is also called the "osagomai" or "hirei."

Muchikake are square at their inner ends, and circular toward their outer ends.

It has been suggested that the name "muchikake" originated because the pegs were used on which to hang whips (muchi), and it has also been said that they were used on which to hang bundles of rice for offerings to Shinto kami but it is not certain what they were used for.

According to Shinto, they represent the wind and light of the gods of heaven and earth, the longevity of the people, the defense of the nation, and control over the public.

[Original Japanese]