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「Women pilgrims approaching a temple, Kyoto, Japan」

Description: Left side - Underwood & Underwood Publishers
New York, London, Toronto-Canada, Ottawa, Kansai
Right side: Works and Studios - Arlington, NJ. Westwood NJ, Washington DC
Bottom: Women pilgrims (making a tour of a famous shrine) on steps of Omuro Gosho monastery (east), Kyoto, Japan
Copyright 1904 by Underwood & Underwood
Back of card  
"You are a couple of miles out from Kyoto. These steps lead to the temple proper which stands higher up at your left. Several of the buildings here were burned a few years ago, but the more important ones have been rebuilt. Buddhism, though an ancient faith, is by no means asleep in Japan. Alongside the uncomprehending , mechanical worship of the more ignorant classes, there is a great deal of live, religious fervor and genuine devotion on the part of another class.
Both these pilgrims are women, poor but devout. Those bundles on their back contain clothing, food, etc., for they have accomplished only part of a long journey to visit a great many different shrines. The cotton trousers worn by this matron with the peaked hat are not undignified - countrywomen often wear dress in this way for their work in the fields. Her sandals and those of her companions are of cheap, coarse straw. The blue and white cotton towels ties over their hair are such as they always wear on the farms.
The Buddhist `mothers in Israel` have just been to that trough yonder under the pagoda roof and washed their lips and their hands as a their religion teaches them to do, before offering prayers to Heaven. Now they are approaching the sanctuary. Certain forms of prayer they are likely to use rather than improvised petitions, though the latter are quite in order in they choose Namu Amida Butsu (`Hail, great Lord Buddha!`) is their customary invocation, for they have been taught that following him is the way to salvation and peace. The priests in the temple will stamp the special seal of this temple in a little book each woman carries for the purpose; the collection of such a set of stamps thus constitutes a sort of diary-record of the pilgrimage and is carefully treasured after returning home.
(See Davidson`s "Present Day Japan, " Scherer`s "Japan Today," Fraser`s "Letter from Japan, " etc)
From Notes of Travel, No. 9, copyright 1904 by Underwood & Underwood