Bulletin of the Nara National Museum"Rokuon Zasshu"

Remains from a Sutra Mound including a Bent Iron Sword
INOKUCHI Yoshiharu

Remains from a sutra mound including a bent iron sword were among the new acquisitions of the Nara National Museum in1992. They are relatively well preserved. In this article I introduced those objects and presented some issues to be discussed.

The excavated site of these objects is reportedly in Kinki area, but the precise location of the site has not been confirmed. A cylindrical bronze sutra case is among the remains. This sutra case is in the shape of a Buddhist stupa, and it consists of three parts an outer case with a hoju-shaped knob, a lid, and a body. The make of this sutra case is very unique: the outer case has a projected part, which is rested on the raised part of the lid. Comparing with other stupa-shaped sutra cases which consist of three parts and other related sutra cases, it is conceivable that this cylindrical bronze sutra case was made between the early and mid-12th century. An iron sword is among the remains, too. Its blade is bent at the center into a U-shape. This type of swords had been considered as rare examples found mostly in the Seto inland-sea area. However, a similar sword was excavated at the sutra mound at Oguni shrine in Mori-machi, Shizuoka prefecture in the Meiji period. There is a possibility that more similar examples would be found in the eastern and central parts of Japan. The remains from a sutra mound in the collection of the Nara National Museum present us several issues to be discussed, including the location of the excavated site and the date of production.

Bulletin of the Nara National Museum Vol. 1, March 1999