Itahi stupa, commonly referred to as an aoishitoba (lit. blue-stone stupa), in blue-green schist, a gorinto (5-tiered pagoda) sculpted in bold relief on the front surface. Clearly dated to the fourth year of the Bunroku Era (1595), Momoyama Period. Old loss to the upper perimeter; otherwise, very good condition, with desirable patination overall.
Height: 76 cm
Width: 31 cm
Depth: 8 cm
The earliest extant examples of stone itahi date to the mid-Kamakura Period ca. 1250, while the most recent examples date to the first decade or so of the Edo Period ca. 1615, after which time the production of stone itahi ceased. The type of blue-green schist from which this piece is hewn was traditionally quarried primarily in the Kanto Plain region comprising Tokyo and bordering prefectures.
On each of the five geometric forms making up this gorinto is incised a Siddham-script seed-syllable (Jp. bonji) symbolizing one of the Five Wisdom Buddhas.
With a narrow tongue-like projection at its lower end, this piece was sculpted for easy insertion into the soil.
An uncommon example of a highly collectible style of Japanese stone sculpture, with significant size and irrefutable temporal provenance.