Ritual axe for mountaineering priest of Shugen sect

Details

Ritual axe for mountaineering priest of Shugen sect

metalwork / Nara

Nanbokuchō to Muromachi period, 14th century

Axe: iron; handle: wood

Overall H 179.8; L of axe 28.0, W 25.5

1柄

Formerly kept in Jinshō-ji temple, Shiga

重要文化財

A ritual ax is a symbol of virtue, which was supposed to cut off the worldly temptations of Buddhist monks who were under training on mountains. Usually, the monk who walks at the head of the party is holding a ritual ax. These ritual axes are called Nyūbu-no-ono (mountaineering ax) as monks used to have real axes to make way when they join the training on the mountains.
This rather thin ax is made of forged iron. The cutting edge of the blade is curved whereas the head of the blade is made in the shape of a flower. There are two heart-shaped open-work decorations; the hearts are rimmed. The handle is made of wood

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.126, no.100.

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