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The Cow of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine


NO.35
Kakutou (The Eaves' Lantern)
"Ushi-san" (Mr Cow) is the pet name for this stone statue of a resting cow, handsomely adorned with a red bib.
"Ushi-san", the familiar of the god of Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine, is always lying stretched out, and he seems quite content to be caressed by visitors. When supplications for improved academic performance and examination success are made, he is said to pass these on to the god of the shrine. That explains the presence of so many cows within the grounds of Kitano-Tenmangu. White cows, black cows, brindle cows, calves - all stand in readiness for the visitor. While originally the cow was the symbol of a good harvest, at some point it came to represent scholarship after being associated with Sugawara Michizane for so long. Not only that, but in the process of being rubbed by countless visitors praying for good health, this cow's body has been polished to a high gleam. Now that the scent of plum-blossoms is soon to be adrift in the air, why not give "Ushi-san" a pat when you go out to admire the flowers?

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