Category Archive 'Nara'

26 Jan 2018

Kasuga Taisha Sword Polished and on Display

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Paul Martin reports that the important sword discovered hidden in the ceiling of the Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara has been polished by a member of the Hon’ami family and is ready to be displayed.

An important twelfth-century Japanese sword, discovered hidden in the ceiling during a 1939 refurbishment of the treasure house at Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara, will now be put on display.

The sword appears to be in very good condition, showing little evidence of use and remains close to its original state. After repolishing and appraisal, it has been attributed to the Ko-Hoki School. The accompanying Kuro-urushi- yamagane (black lacquered mountain iron) tachi mountings are thought to date from the fourteenth century. The sword is believed to have been dedicated to the shrine sometime during the Nanboku-cho (1336-1392) and early Muromachi (1336-1573) periods.

The blade is unsigned, but as it bears a close resemblance to the famous Doji-giri sword in the Tokyo National Museum by the Ko-Hoki mastersmith Yasutsuna, and it is thought that it could be his work as well. The Doji-giri is known historically as one of the Five Greatest Swords Under Heaven. Motoki Sakai of the Tokyo National Museum said that the sword discovered at Kasuga Taisha “is a very important example of work of the period in excellent condition.”


20 Jul 2007

Annual Shōsōin Exhibition

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saddle of oak and mulberry covered with deerskin

The Shōsōin treasure house is part of the Great Eastern Temple (Tōdai-ji) complex at Nara, the Imperial capital of Japan from 710-794 A.D. The treasure house came into as the result of the donation of some 600 precious objects to the Tōdai-ji Temple by the Empress Kōmyō in 756 A.D. in memory of her recently deceased husband the retired Emperor Shōmu.

Over the centuries, further donations were made, and today the Shōsōin contains 9000 objects.

The public is not admitted to the treasure house, but an annual exhibition takes place at the Nara National Museum. This year’s exhibition will be held October 24 — November 12, and some of the items to be displayed have already been announced.

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