Japan, 19th century CE. This is a lacquered wooden shrine decorated with gold leaf. It has Japanese writing on the front of the doors and a phrase on the interior mandala: Namu Myoho Renge Kyo, which means, "Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra or Glory to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Supreme Law", a chanted mantra in Nichiren Buddhism (a predominant Japanese form of the religion). The shrine is of the Lotus Sutra, and depicts two fully robed Buddhas with their hands in the anjali mudra pose, which means "to offer" or "to salutate". There is a figure of Tenkai Nankobo, a monk who attained the highest level of priesthood in the early Edo period, seated on a throne in the center of the shrine. This zushi has a large amount of detail, including on the outside, where all of the clasps and hinges have delicate carving. Size: 7-1/2" L x 20" W x 12" H (19 cm x 51 cm x 30-1/2" cm).
Condition: There is some wear to the lacquer on the interior and some flaking on the exterior. The Japanese characters are very clear, as is the artwork on the interior.
Provenance: Ex-private nothern Colorado collection.
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