Important Cultural PropertyVajra Bells (three of a set of five)

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  • 3 pieces
  • Casted bronze, gold plate
  • Late Heian to early Kamakura period/12th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1362(工290)

These are the three remaining bells of Goshu rei (a set of five bells). Goshu rei is a set of five bells including Dokko-rei, Sanko-rei, Goko-rei, Tou-rei and Hojyu-rei and they symbolize the Kongokai Gochi Nyorai including Dainichi Nyorai. Tou-rei is placed in the center of the large platform where esoteric Buddhism is practiced and the remaining four bells are placed in the middle of each of the four sides. As these three items are counted as one article, the body and gripper have been made to the same specifications. The body gradually becomes wider and the bottom edges are curved. There are belts on the upper and lower parts of the body and the body on the whole is simply made. There are sphere-shared projections called Kimoku on the middle of the gripper (that is higher than both sides) and Renbentai (belt with lotus flower petals) can be found above and below the projections, Outlines of lotus flower petals are engraved and these petals are tied in the middle with three stings. These highly stretchedKimoku and three strings are common features seen in the late Heian period, but features such as engraved outlines of petals and the body shape are also seen in the Kamakura period. Therefore, it is believed that this article was made in the period between the late Heian period and the early Kamakura Period. Although the Hojyu (sacred gem) attached to the Hojyu-rei used to have flames, it has been lost.