The figure was molded in a cast in two halves (front and back) and joined before firing. A hole in the back functions as a vent and prevents the statue from exploding while fired in the kiln.
Stoneware with some gomma. Details are beautifully worked.
Small seal impressed in the back: Bizen … [illegible].
H 10.25 inches
Japan, Bizen/Inbe, mid 20th century
Crack along the vertical joint in the right side, from which three very thin horizontal cracks spring (two towards the front, one towards the back). Despite that, stable and sturdy condition. Molding flaw in the ear that is not considered a damage.
Please ask for pictures for a detailed report on the damages
Gomma (sesame seed) is created by the ash of the pinewood with which the kiln is fired. It lands on the object and melts due to the high temperature. Gomma cannot be steered, it occurs spontaneously. It occurs more profusely near where the fire is. The ashes blow into the kiln flowing on the flames. The further away from the fire, the less ash remains floating through the air.
The baldachin decorated with double family crest. The zushi (case) has double hinged doors decorated with family crests in gold lacquer, indicating that the shrine was made on order for a family temple.
The inside of the doors decorated with flowering lotus plants in etching or scratch technique. Buddha wood, gilded over black lacquer.
Japan, Edo period, 18th century.
Height of zushi: ca. 18.8 inches (48 cm); height of Amida: ca. 10 inches (25.5 cm).
Traces of usage. Basically good condition.
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In this shrine Benten appears in her eight-armed martial form holding various weapons (wheel, bow, spear, sword, club, lock, and arrow) and the wish granting jewel (all of them missing). On her head she carries the snake-bodied Ugajin, old god of fertility and nourishment. Around her are 15 Children or Disciples or Attendants (jugodoji), each carrying specific attributes that are essential for Benten/Ugajin to gain satisfaction and success.
Group inside: Wood stained black. Some remnants of colors on Benten’s face, gilt metal attributes (what’s left of them) and jewelry to Benten. The rock formation was carved by a different carver than the figures. The placement of the Amida Nyorai was a personal choice of the donor. There is no obvious relation between Amida and the Benzaiten group.
The zushi (case) is lacquered black over wood.
Japan, Edo period, late 18th century
Case: H 15 x W 14 x D 11 in.
Condition: Case has substantial water damage due to exposure to humidity in a temple, replacements in the bottom. Inside: Several hands missing, faces rubbed, various attributes missing, repairs on various limbs and garments, item on the boat missing, chips.
In stable condition.
From the ceiling of the zushi hangs a drapery, decorated with of two phoenixes in fine gold on a lapis blue ground.
Wood with mineral colors, gofun, and fine decorations in gold. The crown of the Buddha in gilded metal.
Japan, Meiji era, later part 19th century.
Height case: 9 7/8 in. (25.7 cm).
Figure: Segment of crown missing, small tension crack in his left thigh, seam of right arm open, otherwise excellent condition. Case: Few dents, lacquer chips in one spot, otherwise very good condition.
The figure in the shrine is an amalgamation of figures. The mudra and especially the wearing of jewelry (crown, bracelets) identify him as Dainichi Nyorai. Dainichi is the only Buddha who appears as a Bodhisattva (i.e. wears jewelry). The lion hat is very rare for Dainichi, so is the disc-shaped mandorla. However, both are common attributes of Aizen Myoo, an incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai. This figure represents the three incarnations (sanshu rinshin)of Dainichi Buddha:
As Nyorai, he represents the Wheel of Self Nature (jisho rinshin).
As a Bodhisattva, he represents the Teaching of the Law to Buddhist adherents (shobo rinshin).
As a Myoo, he represents the Teaching of the Law to wayward souls who need intimidationto become faithful Buddhist practitioners (kyoryo rinshin).
Japan, Meiji era, late 19th century.
Measurements: ca. H 12.25 x L 9 x W 7 inches (ca. 31.75 x 22.8 x 17.75 cm).
Tips of the upper flame bunch on the mandorla are bit bent and partially broken off, otherwise excellent condition.
Daiitoku (Sanskrit Yamantaka) is an emanation of Amida Buddha; he is positioned in the West; the white buffalo is a symbol of enlightenment; he has the power to eliminate evil and to establish goodness and to defeat poisonous snakes and dragons.
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Each keman is fan-shaped (or perhaps boar's eye-shaped) with a design of two pairs of double chrysanthemum family crests set between karakusa (winding weeds) in openwork. The knotted cord in the center is executed in gilt bronze repoussé (hollow underneath). The openwork design is very carefully executed, with engraved details and nanako ground.
The ‘saddles’ are decorated with kiku-mon between karakusa, in low relief.
From the bottom of each keman three solid brass balls are suspended, which may be original, or may be replacements for streamers.
The family crests each contain a 16-petaled chrysanthemum, two of which hold a double plum blossom in the center. The double chrysanthemum could point to a family relation with the imperial family. The keman were probably hanging in a family temple.
Japan, Edo period, 19th century.
H 10.75 x W 14 in. (27.8 x 35.6 cm).
H incl. ring and balls 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Some of the eyelets from which the balls were dangling are broken, gilding rubbed (on the reverse the gilding is better preserved than on the front), otherwise excellent condition.
Signed: Shoto …utsutsu. Seal: Moroku sensei.
Black ink and mineral color on paper.
Japan, Taisho era, 1910s, perhaps 1920s.
Painted area: ca. 52 x 13.5 in. (132 x 34.5 cm).
Total length ca. 77 inches (195 cm).
Few light stains and tiny spots, some foxing in mounting, otherwise very good condition.
Kurata Shoto (1865-1928) was a painter from Akita. He worked in the nanga style. His paintings were often Buddhist in subject matter, but he also painted historical and mythological figures. His sense of humor is often visible in his work.
Soft wood stained dark brown, with gold painted decoration and some red.
The insides of the doors decorated in reddish brown with meandering flowers over gold foil on black lacquer.
Japan, Edo period, early 19th century.
Height case: 5.25 inches (13.4 cm).
Case with clear but acceptable traces of usage (tiny dents, chips, small repair at left edge of right door), and basically in good condition. Right hand of the Buddha is broken off and missing, otherwise in very good condition.
Amida Nyorai (Amitayus, or Infinite Life) is the central figure of Pure Land Buddhism.
Both are standing on a rock which is placed on a pedestal and both have a small mandorla behind their heads.
Soft wood carved and decorated with mineral colors. Mandorlas, attributes and helmet ornament in gilt metal.
Case is lacquered black on outside with gilt copper hardware, and the inside is covered has gold foil. Small metal loop on the ‘roof’ used for hanging it from a temple beam.
Height 4.75 in. (12.8 cm).
Japan, late Edo / early Meiji period, 1890s-1900s.
Bishamonten is one of the four guardian kings, presiding over the north, protector of the Buddhist teaching and of the nation.
Kongoyasha is one of the five Myoo, presiding over the north. Emanation of one of the five Buddhas of the Diamond Realm, destroyer of foolish human desires and symbolizing strength.
Sculpture: 4 missing arms to Kongoyasha Myoo. Attributes in remaining two hands missing. Metal ornaments and weapons bent. Case: dents and lacquer chips on edges. All damages acceptable as slight traces of usage.
The figure was molded in a cast in two halves and joined before firing. A hole in the back functions as a vent and prevents the statue from exploding while fired in the kiln.
Stoneware with gomma. Details are beautifully worked out, showing best in the expression on his face.
Two small characters impressed in the back, forming the name Bizen.
H 7.75 inches
Japan, Bizen/Inbe, early 20th century
Gomma (sesame seed) is created by the ash of the pinewood with which the kiln is fired. It lands on the object and melts due to the high temperature. Gomma cannot be steered, it occurs spontaneously. It occurs more profusely near where the fire is. The ashes blow into the kiln flowing on the flames. The further away from the fire, the less ashes remain flowing through the air.
The esoteric trinity of Benten (defender of Buddhism and state) with Daikoku (god of agriculture) and Bishamon (guardian of treasure, defender of the nation) first appeared in the 14th century in Japan. The three of them have similar protective functions and are part of the shichifukujin, the seven gods of good fortune.
In this shrine Benten appears in her eight-armed martial form holding various weapons (wheel, bow, spear, sword, club, lock, and arrow) and the wish granting jewel. On her head she carries the snake-bodied Ugajin, old god of fertility and nourishment. Around her are 15 Children or Disciples or Attendants (jugodoji), each carrying specific attributes that are essential for Benten/Ugajin to gain satisfaction and success.
Benten is sitting inside a glass dome, in the ship of a wish granting jewel with flames (in polished brass) on top of a lotus leaf.
Group inside: Wood with mineral colors (lapis lazuli, malachite) and gold paint, gilt metal attributes and jewelry to Benten and Bishamon, glass and polished yellow bronze. The black and blue minerals absorb and reflect light, giving the group a glow at very low light.
The zushi (case) is decorated with foaming waves, in gold and silver makie and silver inlays on black polished background on the outside, continuing the design on the inside on a gold kinpun background. Hinges and hardware outside and inside in finely engraved gilt copper. On the back is an inscription in gold makie: Dedication of Benzaiten and the 15 Disciples, Daikokuten and Bishamonten on the first day (day of the snake) of the 4th month of the 2nd year of Koka, the year of the snake kinoto-mi (1845)
Case: H 10.5 x W 9 x D 8 in.
Condition: Chip on the roof of the zushi, one hinge loose, but overall very good condition. Inside: One pole of cart missing, horse a bit dislodged and at an angle, but stable, gold and colors a bit flakey, some of the attributes bent. All in all good condition.
More images are available. Please inquire.
BEWARE: Due to the glass dome around Benten, which is not fixed in place, but cannot be taken out, packing and shipping has to be done by art shipper.
Bishamon stands on a demon that is lying on a rock. In his left hand he holds a pagoda and in the right a short staff or stick. Behind his head a gilt metal flaming mandorla. The garment of Bishamonten is decorated in gold paint, the crown and mandorla made of gilt copper.
The inside of the doors decorated with waribishi (diamond) pattern. The back of case inscribed in red lacquer: Fu-kan-jo, which together could mean a ‘wish for wealth’.
Japan, 19th century
Height zushi 4.5 inches.
Tip of pagoda in his right hand is missing. Case: cracks in black lacquer, lacquer chips at the bottom, partially restored around bottom, short crack in lower right side door.
Bishamonten is a deity of treasure, wealth and warriors. The wish for wealth, as written on the back of the case, refers to this capacity. He is one of the seven gods of good fortune, shichifukujin.
Inscription incised in the rim on the back/inside. It mentions the dedication of this gong at the Zenshoji temple in Meiji 40 (1907).
Diam. 12.5 in.; H ca. 3.5 inches.
There are several temples in Japan with that name. One in Tottori Prefecture, one on Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, one on Kyushu, one in Hyogo Prefecture, etc. Further determination based on the inscription is not possible.
Some mild traces of usage (scratches and small dents on the surface outside, one edge dented unobtrusively. Inside white circles from playing it. Good sound.
Kane are musical instruments that are used in the Japanese folk music or Min'yo. The instrument can be hung or held with one hand, and the player hits the instrument with a mallet from the inside. The kane can produce two distinct sounds: chi and chon. Chi is the sound of hitting the bell on the interior sides. Chon is the sound of hitting the flat round inner face of the bell. A third sound, ki, is produced by reversing the stroke.
This instrument is used s well in Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies like a gong, usually to tell time or to invite/alert people to a certain event, but also as a prayer gong.
His shoes and a ewer stand underneath his chair.
Ink, mineral colors and gold on silk.
Japan, 19th century.
Painted area: ca. 34.7 x 15.95 inches (93.1 x 40.4 cm); total length 65.2 inches (165.5 cm)
Scratch through upper part, few horizontal dull creases, basically good condition. Mounting with damage.
Kobo daishi is the posthumus name of Kukai. Kukai was a Buddhist monk, a civil servant, engineer, scholar, a poet, artist and calligrapher. As part of a government sponsored expedition to China in 804, Kukai was allowed to study Chinese Buddhism in Ximing Temple in Chang’an (today’s Xi’an). In 805 he met Master Huiguo (746–805) who initiated him into Chinese Esoteric Buddhism.
Mounted on an black base with Velcro
Japan, Edo period, 18th century
H 19 in.
Some small, old chips, most lacquer and gesso missing.
Polychromed wood with some gold details. The roof of the shrine is a separate piece and can be detached, which allows for taking apart the zushi.
Japan, Meiji period, 19th century.
Height of zushi ca. 7.8 inches (19.5 cm).
Frontal golden curtain dislodged due to warping, but still with the zushi; one door lost its hinge-functions (top and bottom pin broken off, triangular splinter on right door on last photo), paint on brocade cover of horse chipping and fragile.
This piece needs to be seen as a form of ema, which were offered to temples and shrines as a calling to the deity. In the Shinto religion, horses are intermediaries between this world and the gods. The horse is seen to be used by various deities, for example Benzaiten.
Black ink and some gray on paper. Mounted in brocade and framed in wooden Asian frame. Originally this was a hanging scroll but the mounting was cut and used as a decorative border inside the frame.
Korea, first half 20th century.
Frame: H 24.75 x W 18 in.
Painting: H 17 x W 12.75 in.
Paper yellowed and thin on the lines of the paper grid
Height 11.2 inches (29.2 cm).
Japan, Edo period, 18th century.
Jizo’s right foot and left hand repaired (old), vertical crack from his left shoulder down and from his right armpit down, along the seams in the underlying woodblocks, insides of doors strongly, but smoothly rubbed (perhaps to rub out a dedication/identifying inscription, so that the zushi could be deaccessioned from the temple); the outside of the zushi with clear traces of usage (soot), and missing lacquer due to damp circumstances at the temple.