Nyoi (Crosier) with design of Hōsōge flower


Nyoi (Crosier) with design of Hōsōge flower

Craft work / Nara

Heian period, 12th century

Bronze, gilted with gold and silver

L 63.5, W of head 26.9



Nyoi-sticks, which were originally used for scratching one’s back, were later used as crosiers of priests in Buddhism.
The ornament at the end of this nyoi-stick is made of bronze in the shape of a cloud. If is decorated with needle-carvings and plated with gold and silver. The main motifs of the line-carved decoration are a mountain in the center and a pair of phoenixes holding hōsōge flowers and facing each other above the mountain. Hōsōge flowers are arranged symmetrically in a large area, and birds and butterflies are depicted between them. A pair of blue magpies with hōsōge flowers are also arranged symmetrically. The stick is made of wood and coated with black lacquer. The aesthetic taste of the Heian period is very well reflected in the delicate and graceful decoration. Gold on the decoration and silver in the background are effectively arranged.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.120, no.94.

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