muhoutou 無縫塔
KEY WORD : architecture / buildings & structures
Also written 無方塔. Also *kaisantou 開山塔 or *rantou 卵塔 / 蘭塔 (egg-shaped pagoda). A type of pagoda marking the gravesite of a Buddhist priest. Originally used by the Zen sect, but later adopted by other sects. The muhoutou has a characteristic egg-shaped top, said to be a phallic symbol. There are two main forms of muhoutou: One type has an egg-shaped stupa body, toushin 塔身, resting directly on a ring of lotus petals *ukebana 請花. This is supported by a rather high octagonal base, with a lotus motif adorning each of the eight facets. The second type of muhoutou has a two-step hexagonal base; the upper step smaller than the lower one. These hexagonal steps are embellished with stylized lotus patterns carved in relief. A hexagonal shaft rises from the upper base stone, and this is in turn covered by a square cornice. On top of this is a double row of lotus petals supporting an egg-shaped symbol. Good examples of muhoutou include those at Sennyuuji 泉涌寺 (Kamakura period) in Kyoto and Jikouji 慈光寺 (1556) in Saitama prefecture.

Jourakuji 常楽寺 (Nagano)


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