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08/22/2018

Artifacts in the 8th century

Shosoin is a treasure house of Todaiji-temple and it is famous for owning treasures created in the 8th century.
 
Main art treasures in Shosoin were the Shomu Emperor’s collection.
 
Those items were donated to Todaiji-temple by his wife, Komyoshi-Empress Dowager, after the Shomu Emperor passed away.
 
There are various items in Shosoin, such as clothes, furniture, musical instruments and weapons.
 
Those items are very well preserved, in particular a five-string biwa decorated with turtle shell and seashell or precious metal inlay.
 
These treasures show that the Imperial Court communicated to not only Tang-China but also countries in West Asia and South Asia.
 
These indicate that the Court's cultural level was very high and the Court took part in the international community in those days.
 
In addition, one million small wooden pagodas and printed scriptures were created by the Shotoku Emperor’s order.
 
These scriptural passages are considered the world oldest printed items, although it is still unclear whether these were printed with wooden block or sheet copper.
 
These scriptural passages were put inside the wooden pagodas and show both the excellent artistic skills in those days.
 
It is said that these wooden pagodas were donated to the ten great temples such as Todaiji-temple and Horyuji-temple, but only Horyuji-temple has continued to preserve these items until today. 

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