Important Cultural PropertyTodai-ji Kaidan-in Tobira Ezu (Painting for the doors of Kaidan-in of Todai-ji temple)

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  • 1 scroll
  • Ink on paper, scroll
  • H 28.9, L 1114.0; Total L 11136.5
  • Heian period/12th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1423(絵270)

This is a scroll of sumi drawings depicting eight Kuyo Bodhisattvas (deities who, with Amitaba Tathagata, lead the dead to the Land of Perfect Bliss) playing a musical instrument or holding a flower basket, Bonten (Brahma Deva), Taishakuten (Sakra Deva), Shitenno (the Four Devas) and Nio (the guardian Devas of a temple gate). Based on the title and the endorsement given at the end of the scroll, it is estimated that this is a copy of a drawing on the door of a Zushi (a small shrine) enshrined in the Kaidan-in of Todaiji Temple. The Zushi was enshrined in the Kaidan-in of Todaiji Temple in 755, but was burnt down due to a war in 1180. This scroll of drawings is an extremely valuable drawing material as it was copied before the fire and passes on the characteristics of a door drawing of the Nara period which had been lost. It was once possessed by Kozanji Temple in Kyoto and listed in the List of Shingon Sutras in the Sutra Pitaka of Kozanji Temple compiled in 1251. The figures of the six deities of Bonten, Taishakuten and Shitenno drawn in this scroll almost completely correspond to the six deities depicted in the Kusha Mandala (thought to be completed in the late Heian period and now possessed by Todaiji Temple) in appearance and size. Moreover, the color annotation made only for these six deity figures almost matches the coloring of the six deities in the Kusha Mandala, which suggests that they are closely related and both faithfully pass down the original drawing that was lost.