Gorinto (lit. five-tiered stupa) sculpted in one piece from a gray-blue igneous stone. Dated to the Tenbun Era (1532–1555), late-Muromachi Period. Minor old loss.
Height: 51.0 cm
Width/depth of base: 13.3 cm.
The gorinto is a uniquely Japanese style of stupa comprising five geometric forms, which correspond (from bottom) to earth, water, fire, wind, and ethereal space. E. Dale Saunders, in his 1959 classic, Mudra, notes that the Japanese Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism views the gorinto as a symbol of Dai-Nichi Buddha, who, underlying all things, manifests himself in the five elements making up the physical world.
Five bonji (Sanskrit characters) symbolizing the five elements are incised in a column on each side of this gorinto.
An outstanding example of type, with good size, pleasing formal balance, and irrefutable 16th-century late-Muromachi temporal provenance. Uncommon.