Important Cultural PropertyLantern

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  • Lantern
  • Height: 69.8cm Roof diameter: 54.0cm
  • Kamakura period/14th century
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • E甲48

This large hexagonal hanging lantern is made of iron. The roof of the fire chamber has six descending ridges with upturned foliate tips, topped by an openwork flaming wish-granting jewel and is edged with an upturned floral trim. The firebox itself is decorated with openwork renderings of linked jewels, pine-bark lozenges, and hexagons, together with Sanskrit "seed letters" symbolizing the Buddhist deities Dainichi (Skt. Mahavairocana), Shaka (Sakyamuni), and Fudo Myoo (Acala). Cutout images of two guardian Kongo Rikishi (vajrapani) decorate the door. At the lower part of the panel to the right of the door is an openwork inscription containing information about the lantern's provenance: its forger, Sadasumi; its date of production, 1319; and that it belonged to Choryu-ji, the temple at the trail entrance to the great mountain Hakusan in Mino Province. In addition to being significant as the oldest extant inscribed hanging lantern, this piece conveys the brilliant ornamental character of late Kamakura metalwork used for sacred adornment.