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Old Japanese Buddhist altar cloth

kanjiroger

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On the back of an old Japanese Buddhist altar cloth, are Kanji letters that I'm wondering if someone is able to translate. I don't even know what is right-side up, so I am including two images of the same Kanji letters, but one at a 180 degree turn from the other.
 

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Majestic

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”Low res a" is the correct orientation.

信證院殿 三百回御忌
寛政八丙辰年九月
寄進主大岡義佐衛門


Shinshōin-dono sanbyakkai gyoki
Addressed to Lady Shinshōin, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary (I believe this is a buddhist death anniversary ceremony)
Kansei hachi hinoue-tatsu nen kugatsu
(September, 1796)
Ki shinshū Ōoka Yoshizaemon
(Donated by Ōoka Yoshizaemon)
 

kanjiroger

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”Low res a" is the correct orientation.

信證院殿 三百回御忌
寛政八丙辰年九月
寄進主大岡義佐衛門


Shinshōin-dono sanbyakkai gyoki
Addressed to Lady Shinshōin, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary (I believe this is a buddhist death anniversary ceremony)
Kansei hachi hinoue-tatsu nen kugatsu
(September, 1796)
Ki shinshū Ōoka Yoshizaemon
(Donated by Ōoka Yoshizaemon)
Thank you - that is a big help.
 

Toritoribe

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Shinshōin-dono
Addressed to Lady Shinshōin
Actually, 殿 wouldn't be an honorific title "dono" in this case. It's 院殿 "inden", which is a posthumous Buddhist name suffix for the highest class. Inden can be used both for male and female. Thus, it's for the (well, accurately)299th anniversary of Shinshōinden's death.;)
 

kanjiroger

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Thank you. The extra information is appreciated
 

kanjiroger

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Actually, 殿 wouldn't be an honorific title "dono" in this case. It's 院殿 "inden", which is a posthumous Buddhist name suffix for the highest class. Inden can be used both for male and female. Thus, it's for the (well, accurately)299th anniversary of Shinshōinden's death.;)
A question about this: can you more fully explain what is " posthumous Buddhist name suffix for the highest class" for "inden", especially your words "highest class": do you believe that the commemoration was the "highest class" or the 299th anniversary was of a person of the highest class?
 

Majestic

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One thing I can't reconcile is the anniversary with the actual date of Shinshōin's death. According to Wikipedia she died in 1796, so if this was written in 1796, I wonder whose 300th anniversary it is commemorating? If it was written recently, we are still 76 years short of the 299th/300th anniversary of her death, so again I wonder who its for. There could be some buddhist anniversary that I'm not aware of. It says 300th anniversary, but maybe it is talking about days instead of years (but I can't find any reference to a 300-day anniversary). Maybe it is some esoteric anniversary that was celebrated in the past, but that nobody bothers with anymore.

To Kanjiroger, the suffix would be applied to the deceased person's name to show respect and rank. Shinshōin's real name (birth name) was Nobuko, and after she died she would be given a different, posthumous name and title. The title would reflect her high rank. High in this case means the wife of the feudal daimyo Date Narimura. In other words, it's not The Royal Family, but rather the high ranking governor of Sendai.

But the date and the anniversary bothers me, so understand that all of this is just thinking out loud (and a bit of web surfing) on my part. Toritoribe-san may have additional information.
 

kanjiroger

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One thing I can't reconcile is the anniversary with the actual date of Shinshōin's death. According to Wikipedia she died in 1796, so if this was written in 1796, I wonder whose 300th anniversary it is commemorating? If it was written recently, we are still 76 years short of the 299th/300th anniversary of her death, so again I wonder who its for. There could be some buddhist anniversary that I'm not aware of. It says 300th anniversary, but maybe it is talking about days instead of years (but I can't find any reference to a 300-day anniversary). Maybe it is some esoteric anniversary that was celebrated in the past, but that nobody bothers with anymore.

To Kanjiroger, the suffix would be applied to the deceased person's name to show respect and rank. Shinshōin's real name (birth name) was Nobuko, and after she died she would be given a different, posthumous name and title. The title would reflect her high rank. High in this case means the wife of the feudal daimyo Date Narimura. In other words, it's not The Royal Family, but rather the high ranking governor of Sendai.

But the date and the anniversary bothers me, so understand that all of this is just thinking out loud (and a bit of web surfing) on my part. Toritoribe-san may have additional information.
Thank you. I understand your reluctance to "thinking out loud", but in this situation I realize that's the best we can do. I had also investigated the Nobuko information earlier today: she died in April 1796, and the cloth with the kanji inscriptions was dedicated to the temple in September. Part of the reason all this is so difficult to understand is the name changes, Buddhist customs, etc that are involved that us laypeople know so little about. On one internet site, it mentions "Shinshoin" as the "official room" - don't know why, but supposedly aristocrats at that time could have many concubines, each with a different room.
 

Toritoribe

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It's reasonable/logical to interpret simply 信證院殿 is not the same person as 信證院. 信證 is not used only for that specific person. It's not uncommon that the same/similar posthumous Buddhist names are used for different people.

院殿 used to be used for Shōgun or Daimyō class.
(all in Japanese)

On one internet site, it mentions "Shinshoin" as the "official room"
Is there kanji of the word in the site? It must refer to a completely different word 書院 "shoin", i.e., official room for ceremony or guest reception in shoin-zukuri style house/building.
 

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