Mirror with incised image of Amida-nyorai (Amitābha)


Mirror with incised image of Amida-nyorai (Amitābha)

Craft work / Nara

Heian period, 12th century

Bronze, line engraved

D 20.5



This is a round bronze mirror with a line-engraved image of Amida-nyorai (Amitābha), who is seated cross-legged on a lotus seat and is making a finger sign. The mirror is thin. An inner circle is represented on the mirror-back and a rather low round knob is in the center. A pair of cranes holding pine branches are described within this inner circle of the mirror-back, and many other pine branches are scattered both inside and outside of the circle. Several aspects of Japanese type mirrors made during the days of Regent Fujiwara are found in this mirror. The purpose of this mirror was not practical use but it was designed as an implement for Buddhist rituals, because the knob of this mirror does not contain a hole for a braid.
The image of Amida-nyoral is engraved in keribori style but the outlines are precisely drawn. This image is representative for Amida-nyorai images made during Regent Fujiwara’s days and reflects the graceful and gentle taste of those days. Some remnants from the tin plating are observable on the surface of the mirror, which suggests that the surface of this mirror was originally plated with tin.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.123, no.97.

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