Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14
January 16, 2024 (Tue) - February 25, 2024 (Sun)
Pagodas and stupas were erected to enshrine the cremated remains of the founder of Buddhism, the Buddha Śākyamuni. Later, as the Buddha himself and his remains became more deeply revered, a number of miniature models of these structures were made as objects to worship or pray for the repose of the deceased. The practice of making miniature pagodas and stupas prevailed also because it was encouraged as a good deed according to teachings expounded in Buddhist scriptures such as the Lotus Sutra.
Miniature shrines are double-door cabinets made specifically for housing and worshipping Buddhist statues or relics. Their designs varied considerably; some were modeled on actual Buddhist halls, while others were based on people’s images of the Pure Land, where Buddhist gods were believed to reside. Some miniature shrines were made to house pagoda- or stupa-shaped Buddhist reliquaries, making for a fascinating connection between these Buddhist objects.
This exhibition aims to give an overview of miniature pagodas, stupas, and shrines, all of which were created based on their full-sized equivalents, and presents a variety of their types and charms.