Tamamushi-no-Zushi (玉虫厨子)

Tamamushi-no-Zushi is a piece of furniture for storing a Buddha statue. Its height is 233 cm. It is made of hinoki cypress and camphor tree, lacquered, with metal fittings of gilt bronze. Thousand Buddha images are pasted on the inner walls of the altar on the upper part by the repousse work of gilt bronze. The paintings on the door on the upper part, as well as on the four sides on the lower part, are the work of both lacquer painting and oil painting.

Although wings of tamamushi (jewel beetle) had been pasted below the gilt bronze metals, most of them are lost today. The shibi (ornamental ridge-end tile) on the roof was lost during the early-modern times and was later replaced. The original Buddha statue of honzon (principal object of worship at a temple) was stolen in the thirteenth century; today, a bronze Kannon-zo (statue of the Kannon) is enshrined temporarily.

The name "Tamamushi-no-Zushi" dates back to the Kamakura period.

Although it is estimated as a work of the seventh century, another theory states that it dates further back. It is owned by Dai-Hozo-in (Great Treasure Gallery) of Horyu-ji Temple. It is a national treasure.

[Original Japanese]