Metal Works & Crafts Image

Metal Works and Crafts

– Visible Forms of Worship

Metal works and crafts were developed in Japan mainly using domestically produced copper, and those among the Century Cultural Foundation collection consist of different genres -- ancient mirrors, sutra cases, portable ink-pots (suiteki) and Buddhist altar implements -- with the 350-piece collection of ancient mirrors making up the main part. Chinese mirrors show transient styles and allow viewers to time-slip into the Era of Warring Nations (fourth century B.C.) down to the Sung Dynasty (13th century). In addition, the collection houses mirrors from ancient Korea and Japan.

Looking toward the end of the world, pious Buddhists prepared for the advent of Maitreya, who is supposed to arrive 5.67 billion years after Buddha’s demise. People created sutra cases in preparation for salvation by the emerging Maitreya. These cases are another representation of a unique Japanese form of art and, with other Buddhist altar implements, were used widely by esoteric Buddhists among courtiers and aristocrats. Copper-case implements were gilded with gold, resulting in splendid metal works. The rich Century Cultural Foundation collection recreates the images of Buddhist services of the faraway past. Our collection of portable ink-pots, or suiteki, shows us a world of aesthetics in one’s hand. Though the suiteki is only a tool for calligraphy, it can also be a beautiful piece of art that reflects the aesthetic sentiments of the ancient dynasties.