Keman (Pendant ornament in Buddhist sanctuary)
Keman is an ornament for decorating the halls of temples, which derived from an ancient Indian custom.
The two keman introduced in this article belong to the same set of keman-ornaments as those kept in Kōbō-ji temple in Okayama prefecture. The keman-ornaments in that temple are registered as Important Cultural Properties. According to the inscription on the case of the keman-ornaments in Kōbō-ji temple, there were originally twelve keman-ornaments made in 1389 as a set.
The keman introduced in this article are made of two thin panels of hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood. Two fan-shaped panels were put together and decorated with a design of chrysanthemums rendered in open work on one side and peonies on the other side. After the coating with black lacquer, the keman are colored in green, blue, vermilion, etc. over the layer of white-wash. Then metallic fittings, rims, ornamental weight, and hanging ornaments are added.
The gold color of the metallic parts and the colors of the chrysanthemums and peonies make an excellent harmony. These are a graceful and elegant keman ornaments.
Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.116, no.90.