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Important Cultural Property

Covered Circular Box with a design of birds and peonies


Period Early Heian period, 9th - 10th century
Materials and techniques Wood with paint
Size Overall H.44.9 D.23.1


This round container with a lid is made from slips of Japanese cedar bent into circular shape, fastened by strips of bamboo stem, and wrapped again with cedar slips, then finally bound with strips of cherry bark, thus using neither glue nor nail. During the Nara period this method was used to store treasures kept at Shōsoin, Imperial Repository. This box is the reminder that the skill of making a circular box had been passed on to Heian period. The color paintings of a long-tailed cock, peonies and sparrows were probably coated with oil. It is said that this was the container to store the white copper pitcher treasured at Tō-ji Temple in Kyoto. Formerly owned by Tō-ji Temple.

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