Important Cultural PropertyOuter Boxes for the Kasuga Dragon Jewel

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  • Painting on lacquered wood, gilt bronze decoration
  • H 43.3
  • Nanbokucho period/14th century
  • Nara National Museum

This is a two-tiered box thought to have been handed down to Murou-ji Temple. The inner box was made in a Kabusebuta zukuri style. Large reverse waves are drawn on the side of the inner box and eight demon shapes standing on a reef in the sea are drawn on the top of the cover and seven demon shapes and a child shape are drawn on the back of the cover.The reef and the sea are drawn on the side of the cover continuously from the top of the cover. The inside is coated with vermilion lacquer and creates an air of mystery. The outer box has the style of Karahitsu and Gods riding deers from Kasuga-Gosho and Kenzokushin (lesser god serving a greater god) are drawn on the side. Kasuga-Ninomiya (true form: Yakushi Nyorai), Jyuni Shinjyo and Sannomiya (true form: Jizo), Jyuo, Shimei and Shiroku are drawn on the front. On the observer's left, Kasuga Ichinomiya (true form: Syaka Nyorai), Shitenno and Jyutten and on the observer’s right, Shinomiya, Wakamiya and Jyunikyu are drawn, respectively. The background is a solid color. Three Hojyu (sacred gem) on the cover side confirm the theory that Hojyu used to be held in this article. Although the cover surface has been severely damaged, it is assumed that a Ryujin (dragon god) holding Hojyu was drawn. It is commonly believed that this article is a box for holding Hojyu and according to the subject images drawn on the surface, it is estimated to have a close connection with Kasuga Shinko (belief) and Ryujin Shinko (belief). Although Ryujin Shinko over Kazuga is complicated and Wakamiyano-Kami is also said to have appeared in the form of small snake, there is no doubt that it was based on Ryujin Shinko.