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Shide / Japanese Sacred Cut and Fold Paper Streamers
 
Shide are sacred cut and fold paper streamers which are symbols of purification in the Shinto religion. This page records the appearance of shide of various types in selected Japanese woodcut prints. I have found information about the history and origin of Shide hard to come by. Please contact me if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

Shide appears to be the generic name for these cut and fold streamers. They can be of various sizes, styles and complexity.

Shide are often attached to a shimenawa, a rice straw or hemp rope, that marks the boundary of the sacred area of a Shinto shrine or surrounds a rock or a tree believed to shelter a kami.

When a double shide is attached to the top of a staff the combined object is called a gohei.

When shide are attached to the branch of the sakaki tree the combined object is called a tamagushi.

When many shide are attached to the top of a wand the combined object is called an onusa. If the wand is octagonal or hexagonal such wands can also be called haraegushi.

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1702

This print showing a simple form of shide hanging from a tree branch is from the picture book 'Yu jo no zu' (Portraits of Courtesans) by Masanobu Okamura, which was published in 1702.

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1741

This print from the picture book 'Ehon chiyomigusa' by Nishikawa Sukenobu, which was published in 1741, shows a simple form of shide hanging from a shimenawa attached to a torii.

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1744

This print from volume 1 of the picture book 'Ehon nezame gusa' by Nishikawa Sukenobu, which was published in 1744, also shows simple shide attached to a shimenawa (as well as two sake bottles decorated with folded paper butterflies).

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1746

This print from volume 2 of the picture book 'Ehon Miyako Zoshi' (Picturebook of Life in the Capital)' by Nishikawa Sukenobu, which was published in 1746, shows a simple form of shide hanging from a tree.

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1747

The left hand panel of this print from volume 1 of the picture book 'Ehon kame no oyama' by Nishikawa Sukenobu, which was published in 1747, shows a gohei.

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This print from 'Ehon fude tsubana' by Nishikawa Sukenobu, which was published in 1747 shows a gohei stuck in the ground by the river.

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1758

In this print from volume 1 of the picture book 'Ehon mitsuwagusa' (The Illustrated Lives of Women) by Nishikawa Sukenobu, which was published in 1758, a woman is holding a gohei.

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1768

This print from the picture book 'Ehon Setsugekka' by Nishikawa Sukenobu, which was published in 1768, shows two gohei stuck in the ground. Between them is a shimenawa from which small shide are hung.

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