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A gilt bronze pendant that is round in shape and is detailed with a floral cut-out pattern. At the center is a long, bronze bow and two birds.

The gilt bronze pendant is round in shape and lies flat. It is dark yellow in color and has dark spots from wear. It has a thin frame around the edges and the top-center has a detailed half-moon shaped piece of bronze. At the center is a long, thin bronze bow that reaches the bottom of the pendant. On each side of the bow strings is a perched bronze bird that faces towards the center. Each bird has a long tail and their outer wings are outstretched. The background of the pendant is detailed with a large, floral pattern with small swirls in between each blossom. The flowers and the lines are cut-out negative space around them.

Gallery Text

Crafted for Japanese Buddhist image halls of the Heian (794–1185) and Kamakura (1185–1333) periods, the objects in this case were once part of magnificent architectural and sculptural ensembles intended to render the Western Pure Land of the Buddha Amitabha physically present in our earthly realm. To be reborn in the Western Pure Land guaranteed the attainment of awakening; the splendors of this distant land were evoked with gleaming, gilded sculptures of Amitabha and his heavenly entourage, including bodhisattvas and angel-like apsarases. Icons of Amitabha were further canopied with stylized flower garlands in gilt bronze.

This period saw the rise to prominence of wooden statuary, which came to surpass bronze as the main material for Japanese Buddhist sculptures thereafter. Placed within the magnificent settings of image halls, Buddhist sculptures themselves became increasingly decorative and included the extensive use of brilliant polychromy; cut-gold leaf patterning (called kirikane) in the drapery; and metal adornments for crowns, headdresses, and accessories. Despite the richness of their robes and settings, the idealized facial expressions of the figures are serene and introspective — characteristics that reflect the aesthetic ideals of the statues’ courtly patrons.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Stylized Fan-Shaped Pendant (Keman) with Decoration of Birds and Flowers, from a set housed at the temple Jōgon-in, Shiga Prefecture
Other Titles
Transliterated Title: Keman
Ritual Implements
Work Type
13th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan, Shiga Prefecture
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2740, Buddhist Art, The Efflorescence of East Asian and Buddhist Art
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Physical Descriptions

Gilt bronze with openwork, incised, and repoussé decoration; from a set housed at the temple Jōgon-in, Shiga prefecture
max. H. 32.7 x W. 39.7 x D.1.9 cm (12 7/8 x 15 5/8 x 3/4 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
[Mayuyama & Co., Tokyo] (by 1959), gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1959.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mayuyama & Co. in memory of Langdon Warner
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2740 Buddhist II, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at