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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] The 'Golden Crane' of Kasuga Taisha

The glittering appearance of the reproduced national treasure revives the spirit of the flamboyant dynastic culture of the Heian period.

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Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara City revealed the reproduction of a national treasure known as the “Kintsuru and Ginjushi,” from the Heian period (794-1185) in a press conference on April 4. 

The small object is in the beautiful shape of a golden crane with its wings outstretched while perched on a silver branch. The glittering appearance of the gold and silver object revives the spirit of the flamboyant dynastic culture of the period.

The reproduction had been handed over to the Wakamiya Shrine within the precincts of Kasuga Taisha. It is believed that aristocrats had dedicated it to the shrine during the time when it was originally built. Currently, the artifact is kept in the National Treasure Hall at Kasuga Taisha. 

Mr. Morihito Katsura, a living national treasure in the field of engraving, was commissioned with others to produce the replica as an offering for dedication in conjunction with the “shikinen zotai,” a periodic rebuilding of the shrine which is conducted once every twenty years. 

Although the national treasure golden crane consists of only one bird, in this case two birds were reproduced, as it is customary to represent them as a male and female set. The objects are approximately 5.5 cm in size, and sit on a mounting platform put together in a shape representing a waterfront scene. 

“The reproduction is a work that shows the sophisticated level of technology of the time,” said Chief Priest Kasannoin Hirotada. 

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(Read the article in Japanese at this link.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun