KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
A nail used to secure the moulds used in metal casting. When a metal statue was cast using the lost-wax method, a model of the desired form was covered in wax, and then an outer mould was constructed over this. The wax layer was melted away, and molten metal poured into the space it occupied, between the inner and outer moulds. The kougai was a nail which penetrated both moulds and held them in position during firing and casting. Several kougai were usually used, at the front, back, and sides of a statue. They ensured even walls and prevented warping. No examples of statues made using kougai have been found from the Asuka period, but they were used in the Hakuhou period for casting the head of the Buddha in Koufukuji 興福寺, Nara. In the Yakushi Sanzonzou 薬師三尊像 in Yakushiji 薬師寺, Nara, kougai were used in conjunction with pieces of metal *katamochi 型持 inserted between the moulds, serving the same purpose.  

*rougata 蝋型, *kondou 金銅, *nakago 中型

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