Record of the office for making Buddhist Implements; Record of the office for copying sutras

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Record of the office for making Buddhist Implements; Record of the office for copying sutras

calligraphy / Nara

Nara period, 8th century/Tenpyō 6; Tenpyō 15, 734, 743

Hanging scroll, ink on paper

H 27.9, L 52.1; 2 papers

1幅

Formerly kept in Shōsō-in repository, Nara

After Tachibana Michiyo, who was the Empress Kōmyō’s mother, had died in 733, the Empress built the Western Kondō hall in the precinct of Kōfuku-ji temple for the commemoration of her mother. The principal Buddhist images in that hall were the Shaka (Śākyamuni or Buddha) Triad, surrounded by statues of Shaka’s ten disciples and the eight Buddhist deities.
The record of the manufacturing studio for Buddhist implements introduced in this article is a record of the works produced at Empress’ official studio, where Buddhist statues and implements were made by the order of the Empress. In this segment of twenty-two lines, the names of metalic implements are recorded. Among them are small bells, phoenix-shaped ornaments for ban-banners, decorative weights of ban-banners, and other implements as well as the number of each item and the amount of raw materials such as copper, kneaded gold dust, mercury, etc. that was used for these products. The recorded date is May 1 in 734.
A record of paper supply used for copying sutras is written on the reverse side of this document. According to the record, paper was supplied to four sutra copyists; their names are given, too. The paper which was used for recording these Buddhist implements was reused later on at the studio for sutra copying.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.85, no.64.

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