Important Cultural Property
Gokorei (Bell with five-pronged handle) with images of four Myōō (Four Vidya-rajas)
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Kongō-rei ritual bells with designs of Buddhist images such as four guardian deities and Myō'ō are called "Butsuzō-rei" (bell with Buddhist images). The bell with a five-pronged handle (goko-rei type) introduced in this article bears a cast design of four Myō'ō images. This bell is considerably decorated: the space between the Myō'ō images is decorated with nanako patterns and flowers rendered with line-carvings, and the handle is decorated with various ornamental belts and complex lotus designs. Each prong has its sub-prong and is connected to the mouth of an ornamental dragon. These modeling features reflect the characteristics of butsuzō-rei bells of the Song dynasty in China. The gold plating over the bell is well preserved. This bell is an excellent example of its kind. There is a square hole between the central prong and one of the side prongs, which was probably used for containing Buddhist relics.
Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.121, no.95.