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Wooden, rectangular cabinet shrine (a); open side has inner and outer set of doors, hinged at the sides, each door also hinged in the middle. Painted and lacquered black and gold, with brass trim; outer doors have gold-painted panels; inner doors have slats covered with fine cloth net. Carved panel with phoenix painted gold over inner doors. Inside is shelf with four pillars, under which are three panels with scenes. Drawers (b-c) in lower part of shrine; b has lacquered panel with scene; c is black with brass knob. Lacquered wooden tablet (d) is resting on a carved golden lotus, on two legs with eight Chinese characters.

History Of Use

Butsudan is a Buddhist household shrine, kept in the 'tokonoma', or alcove. The tablet is a generalized ancestral tablet, representing the souls of all the family's ancestors. Offerings of flowers, vegetarian foods, and tea are made, incense is burned, and in the evening small lamps are lighted. The shrine is thus the locus of home ancestor worship in a Buddhist family.

Cultural Context


Item History

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