youraku 瓔珞
KEY WORD : 1 art history / sculptures ; 2 architecture / decorations
1 A string of beads or lace-work used to decorate Buddhist statues and objects. Often found on Bodhisattva *bosatsu 菩薩 figures, and thought to be derived from ornaments worn by Indian nobility. Usually made with jewels and precious metals on string or wire, and placed around the neck of a statue, fixed to garments on the chest, or hung from the *kyoushoku 胸飾 (chest ornament). Youraku sometimes hung from the waist down the skirt mo 裳, or over the knees of seated figures. They were also hung from the crown *houkan 宝冠, canopy *tengai 天蓋, or over the pedestal *daiza 台座. On wooden figures youraku were sometimes carved from the same block of wood as the main figure, and they were modelled in lacquer on dry lacquer figures *kanshitsu 乾漆. Original metal and jeweled ornaments on many ancient statues were lost and thus replacements were made in the Edo period. Youraku made from the same material as the main statue were less prone to loss than attached decorations. Examples include the 7c bronze Shoukannon 聖観音 in Yakushiji 薬師寺, and the 8c dry lacquer *Fukuukenjaku Kannon 不空羂索観音 in Toudaiji 東大寺, both in Nara, which both have youraku on the chest and hanging down the skirt.

2 Also yodarekake よだれ掛け. Lit. bib. A molded decoration hanging from the edges of a Buddhist canopy *tengai 天蓋, the eaves of a Buddhist hall *butsudou 仏堂, and the barge and rafter tips of early western-style buildings in Japan. Youraku were often made of wood and decorated with a series of flower and jewel motif.


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