Japan Museum Sieboldhuis

Rapenburg 19, Leiden


Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis

17 March-11 June - EMA. Tangible Prayers

This spring Japan Museum SieboldHuis will present ‘EMA. Tangible Prayers’, an exceptional exhibition of beautifully illustrated prayer tablets that give insight into this remarkable religious Japanese tradition.  2000 EMA from a private collection will be on display for all to admire.


In Japan EMA can be found hanging in temples, shrines and pagodas as well as along foot paths, in homes and in holy places.  In temples and shrines these tablets are often intended for the Buddha or Bodhisattva kami (gods).  EMA tablets come in many shapes and forms however the most common shape is rectangular, with or without a frame. On the customarily wooden tablets images of temples, animals of the zodiac, or specific themes are painted or printed.  Messages of a personal nature or wishes are written on the back of the tablet.


 In addition to tablets beseeching the gods for success in business and in matters of the heart, special attention will be given in this exhibition to EMA tablets with specific wishes of a medical nature such as cures for hearing and vision ailments as well as haemorrhoids.  Discover the diversity of the various illnesses for which EMA tablets are used and leave your own message here in the former home of doctor Philipp Franz von Siebold.