Baked clay stupa (Excavated from Mikkabi-chō, Shizuoka)


Baked clay stupa (Excavated from Mikkabi-chō, Shizuoka)

Archaeology / Nara

Nara period, 8th century

Baked clay

H 202.7, W of stage 37.8


Excavated from Mikkabi-chō, Shizuoka

It is conceivable that this ceramic pagoda may have been used in a small mountain temple in Mikkabi-chō in Shizuoka prefecture. It consists of four sections including the sōrin-spire, the roof, the main structure of the building, and the base. The present sōrin-spire is a reproduction and whereabouts of the original spire is unknown. Tiles are depicted on the roofs. The eaves are designed in the futanoki (double) style. The spaces between pillars are three on the first floor and two on all other floors. The pillars and other parts of the pagoda were carefully designed. A box placed inside the stupa on the first floor is considered to be a feretory. Images of Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) are carved in low relief onto all the walls on this floor.
As this stupa is similar to other excavated baked clay fragments made in the No.8 Kurozasa furnace of the Sanage kiln in Aichi prefecture in about the year 770 during the Nara period, this stupa was probably made sometime around 770. Some archaeologists say that this baked clay stupa was a replacement for a wooden stupa.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.133, no.107.

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