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Apotropaic rituals that ensured safe conception, pregnancy and childbirth were known and performed in Japan since the early twelfth century. Before the fifteenth century, such rituals were based on predominantly Buddhist cosmological knowledge and were performed mostly for political reasons, usually by high-ranking monks for the sake of their private donors and members of ruling elite and imperial house. However, less is known about the popularisation of these apotropaic rituals. As part of an ongoing research project, this talk will investigate a series of ritual prescriptions for women, regarding menstruation, infertility, conception, pregnancy, easy or complicated birth and safe child rearing which circulated widely in late medieval and early modern Japan.
Dr. Anna Andreeva specialises in the religious and cultural history of pre-modern Japan. Her main area of expertise is Japanese medieval religions, especially esoteric Buddhism and kami worship. She earned her PhD at University of Cambridge (UK) in 2006, and since then has been based at Harvard (US), Cambridge (UK), and more recently, Heidelberg (Germany). She is currently on leave as a visiting researcher at the International Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) in Kyoto where she is collecting materials for her second book.
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