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Konjikidō Golden Hall

The Konjikidō, completed in 1124, is the only 12th century structure to survive in its original form at Chūson-ji. This small hall is dedicated to Amida Nyorai (the Buddha of Infinite Light) and apart from the roof, is covered with gold leaf both inside and out.

The interior is an artistic tour de force: the four pillars, tie beams and three daises are all decorated with iridescent shell inlay, intricate openwork metal fittings, and maki-e (gold and silver illustrations sprinkled over lacquer). The hall is as much a complex work of fine art and craft as a work of architecture.

On each dais, to the left and right respectively of the principal image, Amida Nyorai, stand statues of the bodhisattvas Kannon Bosatsu and Seishi Bosatsu. On either side there is a row of three images of the bodhisattva, Jizō Bosatsu. At the front of each dais, two of the four heavenly kings, Zōchōten and Jikokuten stand guard over this sacred Buddhist space. This statuary configuration is unique to the Konjikidō.

Behind the peacock design of the central dais, beneath the Buddhist statues, the body of the first Ōshū Fujiwara lord, Kiyohira is interred. The left dais holds the body of his son, Motohira, and the right dais both the body of Motohira's son Hidehira and the head of Hidehira's son, Yasuhira. Nowhere else in the world are the remains of four consecutive generations of a single blood lineage preserved as they are here.

Konjikido, the national treasure building number 1, epitomizes Chuson-ji and Oshu Fujiwara culture. In 2011, Hiraizumi’s Cultural Heritage, which includes Chuson-ji, was registered as a World Heritage Site.

(National Treasure.)

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