zondag 21 april 2013

Eleanora Mary d'Anethan -- 22 april 1899

April 22, 1899. — We went to see a procession of priests at the Chionin Temple. It was a wonder- ful spectacle, the hundred and fifty priests being adorned in gorgeous robes and brocades of all colours and designs. They walked in single file on a mat, under a long covered-in bridge, towards the beautiful temple. Their walk was slow and dignified, and they held half-open fans in their right hands. They intoned in unnatural voices, yet with a faultless measure and a musical rhythm that fascinated the ear, a curious chant of thanksgiving and of praise, a chant which rose and fell, full of quavers and of weird tone trills. In the midst of this procession, but by no means heading it, was one more magnificently attired than his brethren, who, we were informed, was the head priest. This gor- geous individual was clothed from head to foot in rich ceremonial garments of deep red silk, and was attended by two small acolytes, dressed in pure white. Before the entrance to the temple, lying on the ground; was an immense bronze horo (incense burner) in the form of an elephant. The incense rose from the horo in heavy clouds ; and as each priest approached it, he paused before it, while the song of praise grew more and more impressive. Then, adding incense to the supply, he bowed down in deep veneration, after which he stepped over the korOy and, Ufting the heavy curtain to the entrance of the shrine, disappeared within.

Eleanora Mary Haggard d'Anethan (1860-?, de zus van de romanschrijver Henry Rider Haggard) was de vrouw van baron Albert d'Anethan, die 17 jaar de Belgische afgezant in Japan was. Mary hield gedurende het grootste deel van die tijd een dagboek bij: Fourteen years of diplomatic life in Japan.

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