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Plaque with Bodhisattva, Priest, and Buddhas


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 223

Since ancient times, Buddhist places of worship have been festooned with colorful and lustrous decorations alongside sculptures and painted icons to elicit a sense of wonder in devotees. Gilt bronze or painted clay plaques like these were used as tiles in some of the earliest Japanese Buddhist temple sites such as Tachibanadera in the ancient capital of Asuka. Their reflective, colorful surfaces might have lent a sense of otherworldliness to these sacred spaces.

Plaque with Bodhisattva, Priest, and Buddhas, Copper with, traces of mercury gilding, Japan

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