Sunday, July 18, 2010

Building The Yamaboko

With the deluge of cherry blossoms behind us and the hot - heavy air of summer settled over Japan, it is now time for the the collection of summer festivals to begin. Perhaps one of the most famous festivals is the Gion Matsuri held every July, without fail from the year 1533, in Kyōto. Although the festival itself officially runs all month it is crowned by a grand parade on July 17. A centerpiece of the parade are the floats, which are divided into two groups, Hoko and Yama, and are collectively called Yamaboko. All the floats are decorated with elaborate tapestries and will also carry many traditional musicians and artists through the city. These images are from July 10, the assembly of the Yamaboko had just begun. No nails are used in the construction, only rope and wood, when complete the Yama (the larger of the floats) will weight about 12,000 kg and will measure 25 m from ground to tip.

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