Heritage: July 2002 Archives

July 15, 2002

Rare magical coins found

Archæologists investigating a mediæval hospital and priory at Spitalfields, London, have uncovered a collection of seven rare 15th century 'angel' coins. The gold coins were thought to ward off evil spirits, and were buried in the floor of a building demolished in the 1530s. Hazel Forsyth from the Museum of London said:

Only one gold angel has been found before by archaeologists in London, so to find seven is extraordinary. It could have been that they were used for clinical purposes in the hospital. Gold was used in the preparation of some treatments. It is also possible that the coins were someone's life savings and that they were temporarily stored in the floor for safety. The owner may have died before having a chance to retrieve them.

The coins will be displayed in the Museum of London. Rare 1460s gold 'angel' coins unearthed in London - Ananova, July 15th 2002.

July 12, 2002

Unusual Japanese shrines

Japan: Mainichi Daily News WaiWai republishes articles from Japan's "wild weeklies". Japan's religious oddities -- from 2 meter woodies to temple of the mount, from Spa! looks at some of the more unusual Shinto and Buddhist shrines to be found around the country.

Kanayama Jinja Shrine in Kawasaki plays a similar role. Its grounds contain myriad phallic statues adorned with prayer boards written by followers whose fears about fornication give them the willies.

Craftsmen who used fire or iron during the Edo Period (1603-1868) had a deep belief in the god Kanayama. People soon made the link between tools that spark fire and harmony among couples,the shrine's chief priestess Kimiko Nakamura tells Spa!. The shrine is said to answer the prayers of those seeking lots of offspring and prevent venereal diseases. Recently, it's said to ward off AIDS and ensure the success of sex change operations.

Other shrines focus on traditional fertility problems and on getting people together in the first place.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Heritage category from July 2002.

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