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Update:February 18, 2016

Inaw

[Inaw] Wooden stick indispensable for prayers
[Ekasi-i-tokpa] Precious ancestral seal passed down to male descendants

inawEkasi-i-tokpa


The ekasi-i-tokpa engraved in the top of the inaw

[Inaw] (photo: left)
Inaw are indispensable sticks used in Ainu prayers to the spiritual world. Inaw are offered to the Ainu gods "kamui" and used to drive evil spirits away. Making inaw is one of the most important jobs for men. The bark of a branch is first peeled and then a knife called an "inawke-makiri", is repeatedly used to shave the wood into thin curled strips that form a tuft.
[Ekasi-i-tokpa] (photo: right)
Ekasi-i-tokpa are precious seals passed down from grandfather to father and then from father to son. A man recognized as an adult is told his ekasi-i-tokpa which is then engraved on his ritual tools. Tools bearing the same seal can be identified as belonging to the same line of descendants.