The Weight of Branches

a piece from the Kamiyama Nature Pilgrimage collection

Hutch in location for the Weight of Branches stamp, 2003

Humans seem to have a need to have their experiences confirmed - often through writing (diplomas conferring the experience of education, for example), or the visual record (particularly photography).

In Kamiyama, Japan, Buddhist pilgrims flock to Shosan-ji as part of the island of Shikoku's 88-mile Kobo Daishi pilgrimage. Some pilgrims spend two months walking the arduous 1,023-mile circuit, while others take one-week bus tours. At Shosan-ji (temple #12 of the circuit), I have observed pilgrims videotaping, photographing and collecting temple stamps (called hanko) and priestly calligraphy as evidence of their pilgrimage.

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