Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Box with Design of Benkei and a Bell

Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)
Ikeda Taishin (Japanese, 1825–1903)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Mokume-nuri, gold, silver, red, black lacquer, takamaki-e, hiramaki-e
H. 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm); W. 6 in. (15.2 cm); D. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Credit Line:
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936
Accession Number:
36.100.171a, b
Not on view
Musashibō Benkei (d. 1189), a historical figure known for phenomenal strength, can be identified here by the temple bell in his right hand and the Japanese halberd—one of the seven weapons with which he is associated—in his left. In his youth as a monk soldier at Enryakuji Temple on Mount Hiei, Benkei took the gigantic temple bell from Onjōji Temple, also known as Miidera, at the foot of Mount Hiei, dragging it with one arm up to the mountaintop compound. On the side of this box, Onjōji Temple appears in the foreground and Mount Hiei in the distance. Zeshin's pupil Ikeda Taishin (1825–1903) decorated the inside of the lid with a rosary design and a priest's Buddhist fringe used for preaching.
Signature: Zeshin; Taishin (inside cover); Sept. 1862

Marking: Seal: Koma
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