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Kanji translation / What is this?

kalimon

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Hi everyone. Here is a B&W image of this vertical plaque sort of thing, that stands upright on a base. It isn't large -- fits well on a house shrine or a table. It goes inside of a pretty handmade box. Any idea what it could be, or how it is culturally significant? There is kanji on it, which I'd love to have both typed and translated. I know hiragana and katakana at this point, and simple kanji, but none of these. Thank you in advance.
 
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The first symbol I don't recognize, it doesn't even look like a character, it has none of the usual elements.
The rest read as follows, but they don't make modern Japanese words.
(?) 試月院隨誉妙重慈光大姉位
 

Mike Cash

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It is the Buddhist post-mortem name (kaimyou) of a woman. Possibly Shingon or one of the other esoteric sects, going by the Sanskrit symbol at the top.

Probably for inclusion in a butsudan (Buddhist altar in the home). Somebody's dead relative. How did you get it?
 

kalimon

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Thank you, both of you. Very interesting information there, Mike. I deleted the image out of superstitious concerns. Not necessarily for myself, but for who that name represents and her family. The text can be preserved by Chris's post.

This was a photo given to me by a good Japanese friend. I wanted to better understand what it (the text and the object) meant, from a cultural perspective, so that I could better understand my friend. It was explained to me, but I didn't quite understand. Your explanation is excellent. The info about the Sanskrit symbol is especially intriguing.

Thanks again.
 

Mike Cash

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No superstition need attach to the image or anything about it. The exact same name is what you will find carved into the tomb the person's bones are interred in, so it isn't as though there is anything secret about it.
 

Toritoribe

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If it's written on a tablet made from plain wood, it's an 内位牌[uchiihai] "provisional spirit tablet", which is usually burned after the memorial service on the 49th day after her death. Thus, it shows that the photo was shot within two months of her death.
 
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