Hangign lantern


Hangign lantern

Craft work / Nara


Muromachi period, 16th century/Eiroku 7, 1564

Iron, openworked

H 40.7


Formerly kept in Myōhō-ji temple, Fukushima


This hexagonal iron lantern had been kept in Nyohō-ji temple in Aizu in Fukushima prefecture. The roof and the legs are made in the shape of leaves with holes. Two diametrically opposite sides out of six sides of the lantern-body are crafted as doors. One of the doors is decorated with open-work checkered and arare (hail) patterns, whereas the decoration of the other door consists of open-work net and arare patterns. The four side-panels of the lantern are decorated with designs of small chrysanthemums, pine trees, bamboo stalks, a combination of cherry blossoms and clover leaves, and combination of omodaka (arrowhead) plant and tachibana-oranges rendered in open-work. An inscription is engraved into each transom panel. A bronze magic jewel is placed on a chrysanthemum-shaped seat at the top of the roof, and an iron ring is connected to the magic jewel, and in turn an iron chain is connected to the ring.
The size of the roof and legs is rather small compared with the total height of this lantern, and each side-panel is divided into two sections. These aspects are indicative of the classic style. According to the inscriptions on the transom panels and the bronze magic jewel on the top, this hanging lantern was donated to the the Shūkongō-jin (guardian deity) in 1564.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.119, no.93.

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