Important Cultural PropertyImage of the Deities of Kumano Twelve Shrines

Save Image

image 全画面表示
  • 熊野十二社権現御正体
  • 1 piece
  • Forged bronze with gilding
  • D 32.5
  • Kamakura period/14th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1257(工267)

  This hanging bronze plaque is kakebotoke, represented their Buddhist form (honji butsu) of the Twelve Shrines Gongen enshrined in Kumano Sansho Shrine on the mirror-like plaque with reinforcement of the rim (fukurin). On each side of the plaque, there is a clasp with a ring for hanging (note that the one on the observer’s left was newly added). The images and pedestals are created all in one cast and holes are bored above and below each image, through which copper wires fasten the images to the plaque. The halos are made of gilt bronze and decorated with openwork. On the base of the central Amida (Skt. Amitābha), there are holes that a hanging decoration was attached. Between the deities, gilt bronze flowers are attached and beside Fudo Myoo (Skt. Acala) and Bishamonten (Skt. Vaiśravaṇa), there is a water jug. The plaque is silver plated, and the images are coated with gold, and the lips are colored. Although the images have a noble appearance characteristic of the Kamakura period (1185–1333), it is estimated that this was created in the fourteenth century, since it shows some formalization.
  The Buddhist forms of Three Shrines Gongen (三所権現) are comprised of Amida corresponding to Hon gu (本宮) in the center, Senju Kannon corresponding to Nachi (那智) on the observer’s left and Yakushi corresponding to Shin gu (新宮) on the right. In the upper center is Shakamuni corresponding to Kanjo Ju go sho (勧請十五所) and there are the following deities in a clockwise direction: Monju corresponding to Ichiman no miya (一万宮), Jizo corresponding to Zenji no miya (禅師宮), Ryuju corresponding to Hijiri no miya (聖宮), Fudo Myoo corresponding to Hikyo Yasha (飛行夜叉), Bishamonten corresponding to Yonamochi Kongo (米持金剛), Sho-Kannon corresponding to Komori no miya (子守宮), Nyoirin Kannon corresponding to Kono miya (児宮) and Fugen corresponding to Juman no miya (十万宮). The Five Princes (五所王子) except Waka miya (若宮) are placed above and below the Three Shrines Gongens and the Four Shinto Deities (四所明神) are placed on the right and left of the Three Shrines Gongens. The format where Fudo Myoo and Bishamonten are placed at the bottom is characteristic not only of the Mandala of Kumano, but also of the mandalas of the Tendai sect. Moreover, since the Shakamuni Tried (Shakamuni, Moju and Fugen) are placed in the upper part, the structural principles seem to have been strictly followed when creating this plate.
  Since the central primary deity is outstanding in size and flower petals are scattered between the deities, it can be said that this was made based on the strong desire for and faith in the welcoming descent of Amida, the Buddhist form of Hon gu.