Important Cultural PropertyMirror with Incised Image of Amida-nyorai (Amitabha)

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  • 1 piece
  • Casted bronze
  • D 20.5
  • Heian period/12th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 900(工187)

Kyozo is a mirrored image of Buddha Bosatsu, etc. As far as we can tell from the existing works, Kyozo started to appear in the mid Heian period and there are some theories about the origin, such as the theory that Honjibutu (Buddhist figures considered to be the metaphysical "essences" (honji) of the deities) appears in Shinkyo (mirror of the God) or the other that it is a principal of esoteric Buddhism to use a mirror as if it is a Gachirin where Buddha Bosatsu appears. This article is a large round shaped copper Kyozo engraved with Amida Nyorai with a halo of flames sitting in Zen mediation (Kekkafuza) on the lotus flower shaped base and joining both hands together on the legs (Jyoin) on the surface of the mirror. Evidence of tin plating can be seen on the surface of the mirror. The Keribori carving technique (sequential delicate lines with wedge-shaped notches) is used, while the Zurase carving technique is used to make continuous lines for the face and Rahotsu (hair on the head in spiral curls). These carving techniques are very delicate and the design well presents the features and calm atmosphere of the late Heian period. Kyotai is a double-edged, hog-backed style. This is a typical thin Matsukuizuru kyo in which a round string is placed on the center of the back and a pair of Matsukuizuru are symmetrically placed in the inner area with pine needles splattering both the inner and outer areas.

However, as there is no string, this is not an article converted from a real mirror and it was made as a Gikyou from the beginning with the intention of engraving an image of Buddha.