Japanese and Chinese antiques and art from B & C
Japanese Zushi Buddhist Shrine with Nichiren

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Devotional Objects: Pre 1940: item # 164162

Please refer to our stock # 11E-101A15 when inquiring.

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B & C   Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418

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Japanese Zushi Buddhist Shrine with Nichiren
This fine early Showa period Japanese black and gold lacquer miniature Buddhist shrine (“zushi”) contains a wood figure of the seated saint Nichiren-shonin, founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism. The shrine, which dates to ca. 1940, is crafted in rounded rectangular form with double-hinged doors and engraved brass fittings. The rich black lacquered exterior opens to reveal a mellow gold lacquered interior with a gilded transom, the inside of which is covered with red lacquer. All the brass hardware is in place and intact. The wood figure of Nichiren sits cross-legged on a multi-colored platform which is affixed to a heavily carved gold lacquer dais that fits into the base of the shrine. In his left hand he holds a copy of the Lotus Sutra, which he expounded as the single true teaching among the many ancient Buddhist texts. The rosary (”juju”) typically held in his right hand is missing. His hooded kesa is decorated with gilding, and his eyes and lips have been painted.

Nichiren-shonin (1222-1282) founded the religious sect of Nichiren-shu in 1253. (Shonin means sage, wise and good.) A teaching of Nichiren shu is that everyone attains Buddhahood in the afterlife. Since this founder argued with other Buddhist religious sects, he was exiled. However, his teaching spread out among samurai in the provinces and to people involved in commerce and industry.

CONDITION: Both the shrine and the figure are in very good condition. There are just two small cracks in the black lacquer on the top of the shrine, and Nichirin’s pedestal has had some minor gold lacquer repair where it was fit into the case.

DIMENSIONS: Zushi is 8” (20.3 cm) high, 3 ˝” (8.9 cm) wide, 3 1/8” (8 cm) deep. The figure of Nichiren is 4” (10.2 cm) high, 3” (7.6 cm) wide, 2” (5 cm) deep.

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