Heike Nokyo (平家納経)

"Heike Nokyo" is a general term representing the Buddhist scriptures donated to Itsukushima-jinja Shrine by Heike (Taira family [the same character is read Hei or Taira depending on the context]) with prayer for prosperity of the greater Taira family including Ise-Heishi.

The donated scriptures comprise 30 volumes of the Lotus Sutra, one each of the Sukuhavati sutra, the Heart Sutra and TAIRA no Kiyomori's gammon (Buddhist prayer) in his own hand, kyobako (boxes in which the Buddhist scriptures are kept) and a karabitsu (six-legged Chinese-style chest).

The scriptures are decorated gorgeously and luxuriously, demonstrating to viewers today the prosperity of the family. They are typical works of decorated Buddhist scriptures in the Heian period, best-class historical materials communicating features of artifacts of the times to the present day.

The scriptures were brush-copied by Kiyomori, TAIRA no Shigemori, TAIRA no Yorimori, TAIRA no Norimori and other members of the family. The copying task was shared among the family members, each responsible for one volume. Reading the postscript to each volume of the scriptures donated to Itsukushima-jinja Shrine in 1164, one knows that it was not until 1167 that all of the scriptures were completed.

They are preserved to date, and all the volumes were designated as national treasures in 1954.

They are at present owned by and preserved at Itsukushima-jinja Shrine, and their replicas are publicly exhibited at Takaramono-kan (Treasure Pavilion) of Itsukushima-jinja Shrine.

[Original Japanese]