Gyobutsu (御物)

Gyobutsu (also called 'Gomotsu') is the collections handed down to Imperial families.
(There is a description in the main section.)

Gomotsu (also called 'Gyobutsu') is the collections of famous things imported from China (pictures and art works) by Yoshimasa AHIKAGA, the eighth shogun of the Muromachi shogunate, are called Higashiyama Gobutsu, and the famous Japanese tea utensils handed down to the Tokugawa clan are called Ryuei Gomotsu (Ryuei is the name of the Shogun or the shogunate).

Omono: meals for Emperors and noble people

Gyobutsu refers to the collection of pictures or written records and sidearms that belonged to the Japanese Imperial Family.

The examples of 'gyobutsu' are the Higashiyama Gomotsu, which was the collection of Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA, the eighth shogun of the Muromachi shogunate, and also the one called 'Ryuei Gomotsu, which consists of famous Japanese tea utensils (tea things handed down to the Tokugawa clan); however, the word 'Gyobutsu' simply means the belongings of the Imperial Family and is usually referred to as 'gyobutsu.'

Before World War II, the collection of the Teishitsu National Museum (currently the National Museum) in Tokyo Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture and Nara Prefecture, as well as the treasures of Shoso-in in Nara Prefecture, were called 'gyobutsu.'
After World War II, according to Article 88 of the Japanese Constitution, land and buildings such as the Imperial Palace, Goyochi, Imperial Villa, Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Katsura Imperial Villa, Saitama Kamoba (an area designated for duck hunting), and treasures of Shoso-in, all these being the properties of the Imperial Family, became government property (property belonging to Imperial families). The art works handed down to the Imperial Family are still called 'gyobutsu' under the Japanese Constitution, being supervised by the Board of Chamberlains of the Imperial Household Agency.

After the death of Emperor Showa in 1988, most of the 'gyobutsu' was paid in kind from the Imperial Family to the National Treasury in the following year (1989) and was subsequently kept in San-no-Maru Museum of the Imperial Collections, which is supervised by the Board of Chamberlains of the Imperial Household Agency.
The collection of the Imperial Collections at the San-no-Maru Museum includes art works like 'Karajishi (Chinese-style figure of a lion)-zu-Byobu (folding screen)' by Eitoku KANO, 'Kasuga Gongen-ki Emaki (a horizontal picture scroll),' 'Moko-Shurai (the Mongol Invasions)-Ekotoba (an explanation on a picture scroll),' both known as famous picture scrolls, and Jakuchu ITO's famous art works, 'Do-shoku Saie.'
These art works have, since 1989, been considered to be government property instead of 'gyobutsu.'

Article 7 of the Imperial House Economy Act specifies that the materials with historical background being closely associated with the Imperial Family (goyuishobutsu) should not be included as government property, thus historical collections associated with the Imperial Family, such as the three sacred emblems of the Imperial Family, the portraits of successive emperors or the Imperial Family, written materials and swords used for Imperial ceremonies should continue to be called 'gyobutsu' after 1989. These gyobutsu are supervised by the Board of Chamberlains of the Imperial Household Agency; they are mainly kept in Yamazato Go-bunko (collection) at the Imperial Palace and in Higashiyama Go-bunko (collection) at Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Conventionally, the gyobutsu are not included in the Cultural Assets Preservation Act, nor are they registered as national treasures, important cultural assets or important cultural properties.

Examples of Gyobutsu
A portrait of Emperor Go-Toba
Portraits of Prince Shotoku and two princes were dedicated from Horyu-ji Temple Kenno Gyobutsu (Gyobutsu dedicated temple) in 1878.

Sangyo Gisho Horyu-ji Temple Kenno Gyobutsu
Ito Naishinno Ganmon (prayer of Princess Ito), written by Hayanari TACHIBANA
Katsura no Miya bon Manyo-shu
A sword without the maker's name (Ko-garasu-maru)
A sword, Mei Bizen no kuni (Bizen Province) Tomonari (Uguisu Maru)
A sword, Mei Kuninaga (Tsuru Maru)
A short sword, Mumei Masamune (Meibutsu Aizu Masamune)

[Original Japanese]