Important Cultural PropertyGili bronze ablution basin with precious-flower arabesque pattern

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  • 1 piece
  • Flower basin: gilt bronze
  • Heian period/12th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • E-14286

April 8 is the birthday of Buddha, when Kanbutsu-e (Bussho-e or Hanamatsuri), a ceremony to celebrate the day, is held. This is a shallow basin used on the day to enshrine a child image of Shakyamuni. A hosogekarakusamon (a big flower and thick arabesque motif) is applied using keribori (engraving technique to create a dotted line) from the bottom to the rim of the basin. The hosokarakusamon is gold plated and a silver-plated nanako pattern (a pattern of small dots like fish roe) is applied to the blank space to accentuate the hosokarakusamon. The flower has petals that open up around long stamens and a pistil and looks like a peony as the ends of the petals have a cut. A similar floral motif can be found on the colored area of Jikokuten (a guardian deity who protects the east of Buddha's realm) of Joruriji Temple. This type of floral motif commands attention as one form of hosoge pattern representing the Heian period.