Important Cultural PropertyBlack-lacquered Cabinet for Bones of Buddha, with Lotus Sutra

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  • 1 piece, 8 booklets
  • Black lacquered wood, container of the relic: gilt bronze, gold plated
  • Total H 24.7, W of base 19.8, D of base 12.5
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1258(工268)

This is a small Zushi (storage) that has a double-door on the front and the back. Within the Zushi, there is a rear wall, on one side of which a bronze stupa in the Hokyoin pagoda style is inlaid and the other side has an inlaid wooden wall (Kendon style). On the front and back sides of the wooden wall, a silk cloth is pasted, on which a seated Tathagata image or a Chudai Hachiyoin of Taizokai Shuji Mandala is painted.

The stupa in the Hokyoin pagoda style is in the 全階式style and the pagoda body is larger than the roof. Inside the body, there is a lotus pedestal in the center of a round hole covered with a crystal plate, which enables the worship of the ashes inside. There are corner decorations on the slightly warped roof ends, which are linked to the Sorin (a decoration on top of the pagoda) with a chain. Since there is a base below the base pedestal, it seems that it was intended to be a Hoto pagoda, despite the fact that it is in the Hokyoin pagoda style.

Since the seated Tathagata image painted on one side of the inlaid wooden wall is making a Jo-in (meditation) sign and has a rinpo (wheel-like arms) in its hands, it seems to be the image of Sakyamuni Kinrin (a manifestation of Sakyamuni Tathagata with a golden wheel in its hands). The back side of the wooden wall depicts Chudai Hachiyoin of the Taizokai Shuji Mandala and shows the relationship between the Sakyamuni Kinrin and the central image of Dainichi Tathagata (Mahavairocana) in Taizokai (Womb World) as the relationship between the front and the back. Moreover, the structure of this Zushi represents the relationship between the ashes and Sakyamuni Kinrin and Dainichi Tathagata as the relationship between the front and the back. Since the Shari-ho (a training method where Buddha's ashes are set as the primary image of Buddha) and Sakyamuni Kinrin are closely connected in the Ono Sanryu school centering on Kanjuji Temple, this Zushi is a Zushi for ashes related to the Ono Sanryu school.
The attached transcription of the Lotus Sutra is in the deccho binding style (a piece of folded paper is pasted on the crease side and then these pasted pieces of paper are bound together with a thread) and all eight volumes have been handed down to the present. They were stored in the Zushi. There was a postscript on the eighth volume, which says that the Lotus Sutra was copied in 1226 by Ko Amitaba.