Item ID: 9814 A collection of ten talisman (or amulet) Buddhist woodblock-printed scrolls on paper. TALISMAN BUDDHIST SCROLLS.
A collection of ten talisman (or amulet) Buddhist woodblock-printed scrolls on paper.

Kokonoe no mamori

“Veritable Encyclopedias of Buddhist Iconography”

A collection of ten talisman (or amulet) Buddhist woodblock-printed scrolls on paper.

Of various heights & lengths (ranging from 48 to 80 mm. in height & 4,000 to 10,500 mm. in length), all in very good condition, some with silk front endpapers, four with orig. core rollers. [Japan]: mid- to late Edo.

Ten very rare examples of kokonoe no mamori, good luck talismans printed in the form of extremely long and narrow scrolls; because of their ephemeral nature, they are rare today. These talisman scrolls were not really meant to be unrolled and studied; instead, they were intended to be tightly rolled and kept in a small pouch close to the chest for good luck.

“Such narrow but extremely long handscrolls, veritable encyclopedias of Buddhist iconography, received the name kokonoe no mamori (amulet in nine layers) during the Edo period, because they begin with a red seal [but not always, there are many without; we have two with the red seal] in the shape of a cauldron containing characters that can be read kokonoe no mamori. All the scrolls start with an image [but not always, there are many without] of Ususama Myoo (S: Ucchushma), the king who has the power to burn away impurity and evil, [which] is followed by powerful magical syllables (J: shingon, S: mantra), various ‘seed’ mandalas in Sanskrit, and sutras in Chinese. Next, Buddhist deities, including Esoteric icons, are depicted along the length of the handscroll; buddhas, bodhisattvas, the four guardian kings, the five great kings of light, Yakushi Buddha with sixteen protectors, and a thousand-armed Kannon (S: Sahasrabhuja) with twenty-eight attendants. Many cosmological deities are included: the nine luminaries and Taizanfusei (related to the Big Dipper). Such popularized Esoteric icons as Shoten (S: Nandikeshvara), Dakiniten (S: Dakini), Idaten (S: Skanda), Gozu Tenno, and Tawara Daikokuten (S: Mahakala) are also shown. The last section of the scroll contains a series of dharani sutras in Sanskrit, magical formulas of knowledge that are composed of syllables with symbolic content…

“Two types of kokonoe no mamori became popular in the Edo period as talismans for journeys and pilgrimages and as a part of the wedding trousseau. One type has at the end of the scroll a portrait of Kukai, the founder of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, while the other portrays Saicho, the founder of Tendai Esoteric Buddhism.”–Masako Watanabe, The Written Image. Japanese Calligraphy and Painting from the Sylvan Barnet and William Burto Collection, item 22 (pp. 86-88).

As noted, these scrolls are in very good to excellent condition. A few have some wear at the beginning. Two of the scrolls are in their original wooden boxes, and all of the scrolls are preserved in a modern wooden box.

Price: $6,500.00

Item ID: 9814