Hyakuman to) , NARA PERIOD (764-70) " /> A Wood Pagoda from the set of "One Million Pagodas" (<I>Hyakuman to</I>) , NARA PERIOD (764-70) | Christie's
  • Japanese and Korean Art  auction at Christies

    Sale 2193

    Japanese and Korean Art

    17 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1046

    A Wood Pagoda from the set of "One Million Pagodas" (Hyakuman to)

    NARA PERIOD (764-70)

    Price Realised  


    A Wood Pagoda from the set of "One Million Pagodas" (Hyakuman to)
    Nara period (764-70)
    A tiered wood pagoda with detachable finial opening to the hollow pole containing a roll of block-printed dharani charm; traces of white gesso
    8¼in. (21cm.) high

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    Empress Shotoku (718-770) commissioned one million miniature wooden pagodas (hyakuman to) to invoke calm after the suppression of a rebellion by Emi no Oshikatsu (Fujiwara no Nakamaro) in 764. One hundred thousand each were allocated to the so-called Ten Great Temples in and around the capital, Nara. Today, only Horyuji Temple holds some forty-thousand of the eighth-century distribution.

    Each pagoda was turned on a lathe and brushed with gesso; some have traces of polychrome pigment. A small rolled paper block-printed with a dharani, a Buddhist spell or charm, was placed in the drilled pole of each pagoda. These incantations concern the accrual of merit by those who build stupas, like these miniature pagodas, and copy sutras.


    Horyuji Temple, Nara