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MUSIC OF JAPAN.                        207
immensely long and thick; as also numerous gold and porcelain vases, holding lighted tapers, and surrounded by a forest of artificial flowers, were the objects that most riveted his attention. On both sides of this magnificent and richly gilded shrine were two smaller ones, each illuminated with lighted candles and perfumed tapers, burning with colored flame; the effect of which was very beautiful. In front of the principal altar, within fin enclosure, knelt six shaven-headed priests (the latter, and physicians shave the whole of the hair off their heads), robed in crimson silk, and white crape; the centre and chief of whom engaged himself in striking a small saucer-shaped bell, while four more of the number performed a simi­lar duty with padded drumsticks on hollow vessels of lacquered wood, which awoke a dull, monoto­nous sound. They kept good time, playing in unison, and toning their prayers to their music in chanting. At the conclusion of this singing and drumming they bent their foreheads to the floor, after which they arose and repaired to the smaller shrines, where a ceremony made up of gesticula­tion and a solemn reading of prayers, took place. In the meantime, the audience knelt, with their eyes directed to the ground, and gave some time to silent prayer."
Music bore a part also in the funeral ceremonies of some sects in Japan. The priest sang a eulogy of the dead, just before the funeral pile was set on fire.*
• Thunberg, Voyage to Japan, p. 351, Sherwood's Edition.






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