Important Cultural PropertyBronze hanging lantern with bamboo-pattern openwork

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  • Excavated from the ruin of Chiba-dera temple, in Chibadera-chō, Chiba-city
  • 1 piece
  • Bronze
  • H29.7, shade D30.0 stand D30.1
  • Muromachi period/Tenbun 19 (1550)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • E-14570

This is a garden lantern that was excavated from a bamboo grove at the former premises of Senyoji Temple in Chiba City in 1910. It has a softly curved hexagonal roof, a thin hexagonal base plate with three cute legs called cabriole legs and a hibukuro (a pocket-like cylindrical space where a fire is lit) between the roof and the legs. The hibukuro is divided into six sections, where plum and bamboo patterns are carved in low relief and openwork is applied to the ground to produce a light, swinging atmosphere best suited for a pendant light. Moreover, a nice balance is achieved by making the total height, the diameter of the roof and that of the base identical. It is created all in one cast, except one door, which demonstrates high expertise.
On the roof, there are two holes in the shape of the eye of a wild boar to let out smoke and an inscription (下総国千葉之庄/池田郷千葉寺/愛染堂之灯爐/大旦主牛尾兵部少輔/天文十九年庚戌七月廿八日) is engraved in a radial manner from a gem-like stud. Considering the region where this lantern was found, it seems that this lantern was cast in Tenmyo, Shimotsuke (current Sano City, Tochigi), a location famous at the time for its casting industry, particularly teakettles. For patterns in the hibukuro, a pattern of bamboo trees and shoots is applied to the door and two sections on its right, while a pattern of plum trees and blossoms is carved on the remaining three sections. These patterns are boldly organized and already show the free and bright style of the coming age.