Ewer Handle, Found at Inariyama Sutra Mound, Kyoto, Heian period, 12th century
Heiseikan Japanese Archaeology Gallery
September 21, 2022 (Wed) - March 12, 2023 (Sun)
Sutra mounds were created from the Heian (794–1192) to the Edo (1603–1868) period for the purpose of preserving Buddhist sutra scrolls. The oldest example is a mound from which a cylinder containing sutras was excavated on Mt. Kinpu in Nara prefecture. It is believed that the Heian-period aristocrat Fujiwara no Michinaga dedicated this cylinder in 1007. The shape of a mound as well as the sutras and other objects it contains vary with its location and the time it was created. Sutras for these mounds were inscribed not only on paper but also on ceramic tiles, bronze plates, stones, shells, and other materials.
The creation of sutra mounds was motivated by the idea, which became widespread in the mid-Heian period, that Buddhist Law will decline 2,000 years after the Buddha’s death. A series of natural disasters and disturbances in society occurred around 1052, the year that this decline was thought to begin, leading people to draw connections. It was also believed that the Buddhist deity Maitreya would reappear in this world 5,670,000,000 years in the future and that Buddhism would prosper again. Sutra mounds were essentially time capsules meant to preserve sutra scrolls until the arrival of this age.
|Highlight||Important Cultural Property||Buddha Amida||Found at Gokurakuji Sutra Mound, Hyōgo||Heian period, 12th century||Lent by Jofukuji, Hyogo|
|Highlight||Important Cultural Property||Bodhisattva Jizō||Found at Gokurakuji Sutra Mound, Hyōgo||Heian period, 12th century||Lent by Jofukuji, Hyogo|
|Highlight||Important Cultural Property||Five-Ring Pagoda, Clay||Found at Gokurakuji Sutra Mound, Hyōgo||Heian period, 12th century||Lent by Jofukuji, Hyogo|
|Highlight||Ewer Handle||Excavated at Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Found at Inariyama Sutra Mound, Kyoto||Heian period, 12th century||E-14636|
|Highlight||Sutra Case, Gilt Bronze||From Nishiyama-cho, Sabae-shi, Fukui||Muromachi period, 16th century||E-14821|
|Highlight||Stones with Sutra Text||Muromachi period, 16th century||B-2130|
|Highlight||Seashells with Sutra Text||Excaveted at Amidadera, Mure-mura, Hofu-shi, Yamaguchi||Muromachi period, 16th century||Gift of Mr. Tokugawa Yorisada, B-2165|
|Highlight||National Treasure||Sutra Case||Found at Hōki Ichinomiya Sutra Mound, Tottori||Heian period, 1103||Shitori Shrine, Tottori|
|Highlight||National Treasure||The Bodhisattva Kannon||Found at Hōki Ichinomiya Sutra Mound, Tottori||Heian period, 1103||Shitori Shrine, Tottori|
|Highlight||Important Cultural Property||Sutra Case||Excavated at Kashioyama Sutra Mound, Katsunuma-cho, Koshu-shi, Yamanashi||Heian period, dated 1103 (Kowa 5)||J-37251|