The shrines that the Shinto use for worship sites and many other areas of worship are marked by gates, also called torii in Japanese, and they are used to indicate the entrance to the area where the Shinto believe their Kamis reside. The sacred areas are also indicated by the use of ropes from rice straws that are wrapped, for example, on a sacred tree trunk. The Japanese imperial family is a vital player in the Shinto religion and rituals and the Shinto believe that the sun goddess, the Amaterasu was the imperial line’s first ancestor. For this reason, she is one of the most significant artistic representation in Shinto art, represented even on the Japanese flag.
Shinto religion has no founder; neither does it possess any sacred scriptures like western religions, for example, the Bible or the Sutra, with preaching and propaganda not as common because of the deep roots that the Shinto have in the traditions of the Japanese people. Because of this, the most enduring aspects of the religion are preserved by the art practiced by the Shinto. The sun goddess, Amaterasu is the most important Kami in Shinto Japan and, as such, is the most represented. The goddess’ mirror is found in the island of Honshu’s Ise shrine and is one of three regalia used by the imperial line along with the jewel and the sword.
It is believed that Amaterasu endowed these objects to Ningi, her grandson, when the goddess sent him, to rule over the islands of Japan (Boscaro 17). Sussano, her brother is depicted as the god of the sea in Shinto art with a temperamental and difficult character. While visiting Amaterasu one day, he released colts all over her rice field and destroyed her crops. He went ahead to desecrate her home via smashing a hole into her sewing room’s roof and throwing in a colt’s skin. Amaterasu became furious and retreated into a cave, blocking its entrance with a rock, which caused the entire world to plunge into darkness. Desperate to restore sunlight to earth, the