Nade Ushi; rubbing cow to ease your pains


Shinto shrines often have these statues of a cow, lying down. These statues are usually made of bronze and you can usually see spots on the statue where the patina has been worn off to reveal the shiny metal.

These statues are called “nade ushi ” (撫牛) meaning “rubbing cows.” If shrine visitors have some sort of ailment, then they rub the corresponding part of the cow’s body to pass their pains on thr statue. 

So if you feet are sore, you rub the ushinade’s feet. If you back aches, rub the cow’s back. This is the concept.

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Author: Justin

English teacher, matsuri otaku and kendo 4dan.

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