Important Cultural Property

Inscription on the Bell of Hoko-ji Temple


Artist By Seikan Bun'ei
Period Momoyama period, dated 1614
Materials and techniques Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Size 126.7×88.2


Originally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1579, Hōkō-ji Temple was destroyed by the earthquake of 1596 and later rebuilt by his son Hideyori. In 1614, Hideyori ordered Fujiwara Sanshō, an iron welding craftsman from Sano County in Shimotsuke (present Tochigi prefecture) to manufacture a bell for the temple and requested the Zen monk Seikan Bun’ei from Nanzen-ji Temple to select an inscription to be engraved on that bell. This is the original text that was inscribed on the bell. However, as is well known, certain verses on the bell ignited immense fury on the part of Tokugawa Ieyasu, eventually bringing the demise of the Toyotomi family.

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