Important Cultural PropertySmall picture drum

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  • 1 piece
  • Color on wood
  • L43.7 D30.0
  • Nara period/8th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-108

This drum is carved from just a single piece of Japanese cypress. Drums with the same shape are called saiyōko (lit. narrow-waist drum, hourglass-shaped). Similar to N-107, it has a double-node around the rims and the center of the bowl-shaped parts and a triple-node around the center of the waist part. Different motifs are pictured with the ungen zaishiki technique (painting with distinct color-bands instead of blending colors) on different parts of the drum: reishi-un (mushroom-shaped auspicious clouds) on the outer parts of the bowls between the rim and the node, hōsōgemon (precious-flower pattern) on the inner parts of the bowls and a lotus petal pattern on the waist part at the center. On the border around the rims, a metal fitting for hanging is nailed on the six-petal motif, each petal of which has a flower design engraved on it using the kebori (lit. hairline engrave
ng) technique. There is an inscription "The eastern temple of Ikaruga. The second." on the umi part, which is thought to mean that this piece is of the second type (among the four types used to classify drums according to sizes).
The entire shape is solid and plump and the colored patterns have a free and easy touch, although there are many peeled-off parts. Those features are characteristic of the Nara period and are also seen in the drum N-107.