Glass Dish


Glass Dish

Archaeology / Kofun / Nara

Place excavated:Excavated at Niizawa Senzuka No. 126 Tumulus, Kitanowaki, Kawanishi-cho, Kashihara-shi, Nara

Kofun period, 5th century


Important Cultural Property

This striking dark blue glass plate was excavated from Tumulus No. 126, a tomb built in the latter half of the 5th century in Nara Prefecture's Niizawa Senzuka tumuli cluster. A recent X-ray fluorescence analysis revealed that the plate has the same constituency as glass found along the Mediterranean coast, within the boundaries of the Roman Empire. The surface features a picture rendered in faint white lines. These could be marks left behind by an adhesive used to attach gold foil. A bird sits in the center surrounded by horses, people, trees, and petals. The style of these motifs suggest they were produced in the Sassanid Persian Empire.

This plate was found with a cut-glass bowl. These were placed to the right of the tomb occupant's headboard, with the bowl sitting on the plate, just like a coffee cup would on a saucer. The cut-glass bowl is also thought to be a product of the Sassanid Persian Empire. Perhaps both items were carried from afar to the Japanese archipelago via the Silk Road.

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Kashihara / 橿原 / Niizawa / Senzuka

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