Important Cultural PropertyGokorei (Bell with five-pronged handle) with images of four Myoo (Four Vidya-rajas)

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  • 1 piece
  • Casted gilt Bronze
  • H 17.9, D of rim 6.1
  • Tang dynasty, China/8th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 731(工146)

This is a kind of bell with images of Buddha such as Shitenno (four heavenly kings) and Myoo (Buddhist deity) engraved on the body. Just like this article, bells with Myoo images are called Myoo-rei (Myoo bell). Bells engraved with images of Buddha are thought to have first been made in the Tang dynasty in China and precedents can be seen in the period between the Tang dynasty and the Sung dynasty. This article is engraved with four Myoo, Gundari, Kouzanze, Kongoyasha and Daiitoku on the body and the bell itself is portrayed as Fudo Myoo. Its iconography is different from the ones mentioned in the Besson Zakki (Buddhist iconographical publication) as "brought by Chisho Daishi (Enchin)" and there would be objections about the origin of the images. Fish egg patterns and flower patterns are engraved between the images. The shoulder lines are gently curved and gradually narrow toward the base. The bottom edge is shaped with eight flower petals. There are eight sphere-shaped projections called Kimoku on the middle of the gripper, which are decorated with patterns of various Chutai and intricate Renbentai. The top part is shaped with Goko (a ritual article) and the octagon shaped Chuko (the central part) has a joint in the middle. The Wakiko (the side part) consists of four parts. Each is shaped with a dragon and the base part comes out of its mouth. The parts have very decorative features, such as the reverse prickles in the indignant style. As there are small holes in the area between the Chuko and two Wakiko, it is very interesting that there is a connection between this article and the other ritual articles of esoteric Buddhism stored in Buddha's ashes mentioned in Daishi-Shorai-Mokuroku, etc.