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Cultural heritage

Jōroku Buddhas

In the first room of the Sankōzō are three seated Buddhas. Standing, they would each be about 5.3 m., a standard measurement called jōroku. On the left is Yakushi Nyorai (the Buddha of Healing) from the Konjikiin. In the center is Amida Nyorai (the Buddha of Infinite Light) which belongs to the Main Hall. Another Yakushi Nyorai, from Ganjōjuin, is on the right. They are thought to date from the 12th century and share a similar calm peacefulness of expression.

The statues are carved of katsura wood and measure 2.65 - 2.68 m.

(Important Cultural Properties.)

Standing Thousand-Armed Kannon

This image of the deity Kannon is carved from a single block of Japanese cypress. The two hands clasped over the statue's head hold a tiny image of Amida Nyorai (the Buddha of Infinite Light).

This life-size (176cm) figure is a rare example of Kiyomizu-style statuary, and its elegant posture suggests a late 12th century origin.

(Important Cultural Property, collection of Kannon'in Hall.)

Gilded Floral Wreath Ornaments

Gilt-bronze pendants (keman), originated from the wreaths of flowers that were hung in Buddhist halls as decoration and these were formerly hung in the Konjikidō. An arabesque Chinese floral motif in intricate openwork forms the background for a pair of Karyōbinga, mythical winged creatures with the face of a beautiful woman, said to sing with heavenly voices in Amida's Western Paradise. The detailed casting techniques place them among the finest examples of late Heian metalwork in Japan.

(National Treasure, collection of Konjikiin Hall.)

Pagoda Sutras

The Golden Light Sutra is written in gold ink on deep blue paper so that the characters describe the shape of pagodas. Each pagoda represents one chapter of the sutra, and all ten chapters have been preserved.

Brilliantly colored scenes and images around the pagodas illustrate the sutra's meaning. These late 12th century works are regarded as extraordinarily valuable primary materials for the study of painting and transcription history.

(National Treasure, collection of Daichōjuin Hall.)

The Gold-and-Silver Canon

Commissioned by the first Ōshū Fujiwara lord, Kiyohira, this is a transcription of the entire Buddhist canon in alternating lines of gold and silver on navy paper with silver lines. Originally, this was a monumental work of three hundred scrolls, but over time most have been removed from Chūson-ji to other temples such as Mt. Kōya in Wakayama, leaving only fifteen chapters at Chūson-ji.

(National Treasure, collection of Daichōjuin Hall.)

Shell Inlaid Octagonal Pedestal

This dais for the Sutra Repository's principal image, the Mounted Monju Bosatsu with Four Attendants pentad is decorated with iridescent shell inlay and metal fittings. Both its shape and design are unparalleled but the richly artistic decoration resembles that of the Konjikidō, also of the late 12th century.

(National Treasure, collection of Daichōjuin Hall)

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