Tamamushi no zushi 玉虫厨子
KEY WORD : architecture / accessories
The Tamamushi no zushi owned by Houyuuji 法隆寺 (mid-7c) is also called the Beetle wing Shrine, because iridescent beetle wings that were placed beneath metal open-work used on the corners and base of the shrine as well as on the dais. It is a miniature structure 226.6cm high which, according to the actual scholar Fujishima Daijirou 藤島亥治郎 is exactly half the height of the pagoda. It has a very high dais *daiza 台座, that supports the single-storied, ancient style, palace-like structure. Aside from its aesthetic qualities, it supplies valuable evidence regarding seventh century architectural style. The building is made of camphor and cypress wood. The roof is in the *shikorobuki 錣葺 style, which is related to the more common hip-and-gable type *irimoya-zukuri 入母屋造. The chief characteristic of the shikorobuki style is that the gable is clearly defined by an obvious break between it and the hips. The roof is covered with simulated tiles fashioned in the lipless style *gyougibuki gawara 行基葺瓦. An acroterion *shibi 鴟尾, is mounted on each end of the ridge *munagi 棟木. The rafters *taruki 垂木, are set parallel to each other, and the purlins *keta 桁, are circular in section. Single rafters support single eaves *hitonoki 一軒. Tail rafters *odaruki 尾垂木, extend in this miniature building from the purlins to beyond the ends of the cloud-patterned bracket complexes *kumotokyou 雲斗きょう. The corner bracket complexes are placed at an angle in line with the corners of the hipped part of the roof. Carved cloud-patterned brackets supporting two cloud-patterned bearing blocks are placed fairly close to the ends of each tail rafter to support the eave purlins *gagyou 丸桁. All posts are square in section and are topped with large bearing blocks *daito 大斗. On three sides are double-leafed doors. The interior and exterior of the miniature building, the rectangular base, shumiza 須弥座, that resembles a Buddhist altar *shumidan 須弥壇, and the platform-like base with *kouzama 格狭間 shaped openings on each side, are all lavishly decorated with paintings, lotus petal mouldings and embossed figures of Buddhas. This decoration is also found on the interior walls and the inside of the doors.


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