Kirikane (a traditional decorative technique by cut gold) (截金)

Kirikane (literally, cut leaf), which is also called hosogane (literally thinly cut leaf), refers to a traditional technique of creating patterns by using brushes to bond several leaves of gold, silver or platinum together, which are then burnt together and cut into shapes such as narrow rectangles, triangles, diamonds, or circles. Traditionally, this technique was developed to make robes and accessories on Buddha statues or Buddhist paintings look stately. Nowadays, this technique is used in many craftworks as well.

History

In other countries, 'Glass bowl with gold leaf' (Sandwich glass, unearthed in Alexandria and owned by the British Museum) around 300 to 250 BC has a plant pattern with the kirikane technique placed between the two layers of transparent glass.

In China, the kirikane technique is found in two statues of Bosatsu (bodhisattva) in Northern Qi period (550 to 577) (owned by Qingzhou Museum in Shandong Province): For one of them, it is used in the motif of a double-line kikkomon (hexagonal pattern) in which a tortoise is drawn, and the motif which two patterns of plant with three leaves are arranged one above the other in a vertically long kikkomon in its mosuso (hem of pants), and for the other, in the boundary line between green pattern with white circle and red pattern with white circle in its mo (long pleated skirts).

In the Korean peninsular, thin belt-like straight gold leaf for the kikkomon (hexagonal pattern) is confirmed on the red-colored (presumably, red-lacquered) surface of the wooden pillow for a princess unearthed from the tomb of King Muryeong in Sud Chungcheong in Baekje, in the early sixth century.

It is said that the technique was brought to Japan in the Asuka period, in the midst seventh century, together with Buddhist sculptures and Buddhist paintings from the Korean peninsular and continental China. A tiny long lozenge-shaped gold leaf is used at the tips of petals of ukebana (a flower-like accessory) under the agarigamachi (the horizontal bar at the entrance) of shumiza (dais for a Buddhist statue) of Tamamushi-no-Zushi (literally, Beetle Shrine) owned by Horyu-ji Temple, which is considered as the oldest remaining kirikane-using product in Japan. In the Nara period, the kirikane technique in straight-line or was used for the decorations of the robes and Katchu (armors and helmets) of the Kanshitsu Shitenno ryuzo (dry lacquer standing statues of the four guardian kings) (national treasure) in Hokke-do Hall (also referred as Sangatsu-do) of Todai-ji Temple, and for the clothes' base pattern of Sozo Shitenno zo (molding statue of the four guardian kings) in Kaidan-do Hall of Todai-ji Temple. On the Shiragi-goto (Shiragi-style koto) called Kinpaku wanokusagata otorigata (literally, grass and big bird patterns using thin gold rings) in the Shosoin Treasures, patterns with the kirikane techniques, such as lozenges, pine leaves, grass flowers and a phoenix drawn using curves, and so on, can be seen.

In the Heian period, the kirikane technique was introduced for giving the stateliness to Buddhist paintings. For example, on the Butsu Nehan-zu (painting of Buddha nirvana) of Kongobu-ji Temple in Mt. Koya in the late Heian period, and on Kinkan Shutsugenzu (Rising from the Gold Coffin) owned by Tokyo National Museum, delicate patterns are drawn using the kirikane technique deftly. From these examples, it is known that the kirikane technique had developed dramatically corresponding to the prosperity of Buddhist art. In the Kamakura period, new patterns were created by efforts of Kaikei, a busshi (sculptor of Buddhist Statues). However, from the Muromachi period to the Edo period, the patterns became fixed gradually, and in addition, patterns using kindei (gold paint), instead of kirikane, had become used widely. Therefore, after then, the number of persons inheriting the technique diminished gradually. In the early-modern times and later, kirikane became a technique that was inherited among a limited number of persons under the support of Higashi (eastern) Hongan-ji Temple and Nishi (western) Hongan-ji Temple. However, the persons making efforts to hand the technique down to later generations have appeared recently, and its value has been becoming recognized, though little by little. Hereafter, how to inherit and develop the kirikane technique in Japan is a big problem.

The holders of Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure)

Until now, the following three persons have been certified as the holders of Important Intangible Cultural Property concerning this technique.

Baitei SAITA (April 6, 1900 - June 1, 1981): In 1981
Daizo NISHIDE (June 7, 1913 - July 8, 1995): In 1985
Sayoko ERI (July 19, 1945 - October 3, 2007): In 2002

The tools and methods

Types of the leaf
Gold leaf
A gold leaf from 4/10,000 to 7/10,000 millimeters thick, approximately 11 centimeters square is usually used. Two sheets of them are burnt together, then another sheet is done in its both faces. It is used after the above process which is repeated several times until four to six sheets are burnt together.

Two types of gold leaf, called entsuki (leaf which is cut individually and sandwiched between sheets of specially made paper, also referred as enzuke) and tachikiri (leaf which is cut all together after being put between sheets of paper to make stacks of over 1000) are sold. However, because the tachikiri type is hard and cannot be handled easily, the entsuki type is used preferably.

Because humidity should be avoided for this material, the burning operation to make pieces of gold leaf stuck should be performed on fine days, avoiding rainy days and the rainy season.

Silver leaf
The color of this material may become black due to aging. Therefore, though having been used in the Heian and Kamakura periods, this material is rarely used today.

Platinum leaf
Today, platinum leaf is sometimes used for expressing silver color.

It can be used by burning together about two sheets of them, however, the operation requires higher temperature and longer duration than that of gold leaf.

How to burn leaves together
Bamboo scissors
Bamboo scissors are used to pick up and move gold leaf, or to burn together.

With no static charge generated in use of bamboo, it is advantageous to use because gold leaf doesn't cling to them.

An iron
An iron is used when pieces of gold leaf are burnt to be stuck in a modern method, without using binchotan charcoal (high-grade charcoal produced from oak)

An iron for industrial use, the type of not utilizing steam and with no temperature control, or the type with which the temperature continues increasing without emitting steam, is used.

The irons for household with a temperature control function are not used for the following reasons: With the temperature of these irons being low, it takes much time to burn the leaves together, and if it seems to be done, the leaves cannot be jointed strong enough and may be peeled due to aging.

When an iron is used for burning the leaves together, the leaf may wrinkle or be torn when the iron is moved horizontally on the leaves while being heated. Therefore, the iron should be moved vertically to burn together. Burning together is completed by heating up until smoke starts rising slightly and the Japanese paper is burnt brown.

Japanese paper
When burning the leaves together by iron, it is used for preventing the gold leaf from sticking to the iron.

It doesn't require a special Japanese paper. The thin paper called hakushi inserted between sheets of gold leaf by default can be used for this purpose.

Binchotan charcoal
This charcoal is used for burning gold leaves together in a traditional method without iron.

The charcoal produced from ubame oak is used preferably, which has higher density among binchotan charcoal and is said to keep the temperature constant for a longer time.

The charcoal with straight shapes should be used. In case of using the charcoal with a crack, it is placed with the crack side faced under and laid down horizontally during burning together.
Ash

When burning together using binchotan charcoal, the charcoal should be covered by ash.

If the ash includes dust or a small lump, the gold leaf is scratched and torn. Therefore, such things must be removed by putting ash through a sieve in advance.

Ash retains heat. Therefore, when binchotan charcoal is buried in ash completely, the charcoal fire can be retained for a long time.

Braziers
When a burning the gold leaves together with binchotan charcoal, the binchotan and ash are placed in a brazier.

Cutting leaf
Hakuban (A board for cutting leaf, also referred as hakudai or tokodai)
It is a leather-covered wooden board, on which a sheet of gold leaf is placed to be cut with a bamboo sword.

Talc (powdered talcum)
Talc is used for removing fat and oil stuck to hakuban, bamboo swords or bamboo scissors.

Bamboo swords
Shinodake (small bamboo) (also referred as medake and Simon [Pleioblastus simonii]) is cut into quarters. The sword with blading with a knife respectively is used for cutting a gold leaf.

What constitutes the blade eventually is the hard portion of the outmost layer of the bamboo. However, although the blade portion is hard, it can be damaged on impact, disabling gold leaf to be cut with. Therefore, a special care, for example, wrapping it with soft cloth, is needed for storing it.

Knives
A knife is used for shaping a bamboo sword, and for generating the blade of it.

Because bamboo swords themselves are small, it is convenient to use a knife with a small blade, such as a knife for cutting seal patterns in particular, among carving knives.

No bamboo sword with a sharp blade can be made without using a sharp knife. Therefore, how to sharpen knife blades must be learnt.

Attaching leaf and adhesives
Blushes (picking-up brushes and kirikane brushes)
A picking-up brush is used for winding a thinly cut piece of golden leaf around it to pick up the leaf. A slender and long brush, rather than a thick and short brush, is preferred.

A kirikane brush is used for painting funori glue (glue made of a glue plant in the sea) in the spot where a piece of gold leaf is to be pasted. In addition, it is also used for pointing the place where gold leaf is to be gilded. The animal fur to be used is not determined, but it is recommended to use a soft one that is easy to absorb water.

Yukihira
It refers to a pan for melting glue or funori glue within it.
Funori glue
This is an adhesive generated by dried and tatami-shaped funori, a seaweed, which is used by melting when pasting gold leaf.

As the funori itself has not great adhesion, it is mixed with a glue for actual use. More funori are mixed than the glue.

Gelatin (a glue)
This is an adhesive made of hides and bones of animals, and is dissolved by heat when used for pasting gold leaf.

There are the following glues: Sanzenbon nikawa glue (literally, 3000 glues [called in this way, because a unit of these glues consists of three thousand pieces of dry glues]), deer glue, pearl glue (these three kinds of glue are made from cattle: Deer glue is also made from cattle today, with only the name remaining), rabbit skin glue and Uonikawa glue (glue made from nibe, a fish). It is likely that Sanzenbon nikawa glues and deer glues are used mostly for kirikane.

Sanzenbon nikawa glue is prepared in the following way: First put into water so that the glue absorbs enough water, then dissolve the sodden glue slowly by immersion in hot water. When an electric stove is used, dissolve it on medium heat in 50 to 70 degree Celsius, not boil it. Note the adhesive power of the glue is degraded by dissolving in a high temperature. Stir the contents so that the glue is not scorched, and filter them with gauze or others, after the glues have been dissolved completely. Then the glue is ready. In dissolving the glue, it is a standard to use water of 200 cc for a glue of 10 to 15 grams. However, it is desirable to change the ratio depending on the temperature and humidity of the day. The glue generated in this way can be kept for four to five days within a refrigerator. Do not use decayed glue because its adhesive power has been degraded.

Pattern types
Most of these patterns are a regular geometric repetition of a design of a natural phenomenon, plant, animal or daily necessity. There are also patterns generated by modifying basic patterns and those combining them. Thus a variety of patterns exist, and they are not fixed definitely.

Natural phenomena
Hails
A pattern that one rectangular or lozenge leaf or four of them together are placed at several locations to be seen as hail is scattered.
Flowing clouds
A pattern that the outlines of clouds are drawn using lines to express flowing clouds.
Seigaiha (literally, a pattern of waves in blue ocean)
A pattern that concentric circles are partially overlapping like a fan.
Tachiwaku (also referred as tatewaku)
A pattern that is said to express rising vapor, combining wavy line patterns relatively so that broad and narrow portions appear alternately. Lozenge or round gold leaf is often placed among those patterns.
Waves
A pattern that two or more similarly wound lines are placed horizontally or vertically, with an equal distance kept between adjacent lines.
Hiashi (literally, legs of the sun)
A pattern that depicts the light emitted from the sun, placing pieces of gold leaf, each with the shape of a narrow angle isosceles triangle, circularly with the narrow part placed towards the center of the circle.
Stars
A round pattern that is used in the modern age, generating with pattern-generating tools. Pieces of gold leaf seemingly intended for round shapes were found in the Heian or Kamakura periods, but they have many edges, not being complete round.
Raimon (literally, thunder patterns)
A pattern obtained by bending straight lines many times to imitate vortexes or mountains.

Plant
Asa no ha (stylized hemp leaf) pattern
A pattern that is named after it resembles a hemp leaf, placing six regular triangles within a regular hexagon, and connecting the center of each triangle to each of its three apexes in line.
Karakusa-moyo (literally, Chinese grass patterns)
A pattern combining curved-line pieces of gold leaf, imitating stalks, and lozenge-shaped pieces of gold leaf, imitating grass leaves, to express intertwined plants, for example, ivies.
Grass flowers
A pattern that imitates the contours of flowers, leaves, and leaf veins using straight pieces of gold leaf.
Danka (flower patterns)
A pattern that expresses flowers by placing different-sized square, lozenge or round pieces of gold leaf collectively at a place.
Lozenge
A pattern that resembles a leaf by combining two pairs of parallel lines, with each of the pairs in a different direction, or cutting a comparatively wide line crossly at two portions. The modifications include the patterns by increasing the number of parallel lines, the lozenge patterns that include another lozenge pattern made of pieces of gold leaf inside, and tasuki bishi patterns (diamond patterns on cord used to tuck up the sleeves of a kimono).
Hosoge (arabesque flower patterns)

Animals
Scales
A pattern that originates in that it resembles scales of fishes by arranging triangle pieces of gold leaf so that a same-sized triangle space is generated between adjacent triangle pieces of gold leaf.
Kikko (hexagonal patterns: literally, shells of tortoises)
A pattern that originates in that it resembles shells of tortoises by arranging regular hexagons geometrically. The modifications include the Bishamon Kikko pattern based on the pattern combining three hexagons which is found on the Katchu (armors and helmets) of Bishamonten (Vaisravana), and the komochi kikko (literally, child-bearing kikko) pattern in which a hexagonal pattern includes another small hexagonal pattern inside).
Phoenixes
A pattern imitates shapes of a legendary Chinese bird.

Daily necessities
Amime (mesh) patterns
A pattern imitates the meshes used for fishing.
Checkered patterns or stone pavement patterns
A pattern by arranging square pieces of gold leaf so that a same-sized square space is generated between adjacent square pieces of gold leaf.
Kagome (literally, patterns of baskets made weaving bamboo) patterns
A pattern that depicts mesh of baskets made weaving bamboo by arranging a triangle for each outside line of a hexagon.
Lattice patterns
A pattern by drawing equally-spaced parallel lines vertically as well as horizontally. The modifications include those in which a different number or width of vertical or horizontal lines is used, or slanting lattice patterns where either of the vertical or horizontal lines are slanted.
Sangi (sticks used for calculations) patterns
A pattern that imitates shapes of the calculation tool used for wasan (mathematics in Japanese style).
Shippo patterns
A pattern by overlapped each quarter line of the same-sized circle, or by connecting four ellipses in circle and putting their inner line together alternately to form another circle in their extension. The modifications include flower shippo patterns where a lozenge or round piece of gold leaf is placed inside each shippo pattern element and yotsume (literally, four-eye) shippo patterns where lattice patterns and shippo patterns are combined.
Fundo (counterweight) patterns
Fundo is a tool for measuring weight with a balance, and this pattern is generated by connecting four curved lines alternately.
Manji (Buddhist cross) patterns
A pattern that expresses 卍 in Sanskrit, and was widely seen in family crests and on clothes in the past. The modifications include connected 卍 patterns, modified 卍 patterns and the sayagata monyo patterns in which 卍 patterns are connected along inclined lines.
Yoraku patterns
A pattern that designs the accessories that nobles in India wove beads and precious metal and wore. Today, this pattern is mostly used as a necklace or breastplate of Buddha in Buddhist paintings.

Buddha statues using kirikane

Tokyo
Tokyo National Museum
A standing statue of Manjusri (bodhisattva): Sculpted in the Kamakura period
The dog god of the standing statues of 12 protective deities: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
On this statue, linear kirikane is used in the hair, and a connected 卍 pattern is used on the chest amour.
The sheep god of the standing statues of 12 protective deities: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
The dragon god of the standing statues of 12 protective deities: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
The snake god of the standing statues of 12 protective deities: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
On this statue, linear kirikane is used in the hair, and a kagome pattern is used on the chest armor.
A standing statue of Bodhisattva: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
On this statue, a tachiwaku pattern is used on the hagoromo (feather-robe) and an asa no ha pattern on its skirt. In addition, a danka pattern, hiashi pattern, karakusa pattern and lotus pattern are provided using the kirikane technique.
A Monju Bosatsu Kishi zo (a statue of Monju Bosatsu Riding on a Lion) and a standing statue of an attendant: Sculpted by Koen in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A standing statue of Amitabha Tathagata: Sculpted by Eisen in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A seated statue of Aizenmyoo: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Kannon-ji Temple on Mt. Setagaya
Standing statures of Fudo Myoo (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings) and eight great youths: Sculpted by Koen in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property

Kanagawa Prefecture
Enkaku-ji Temple
A standing statue of Jizo Bosatsu in the Jizodo hall: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Shomyo-ji Temple (located in Yokohama City)
A standing statue of Miroku Bosatsu (Buddha of the Future) in the kondo (main hall): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A tool considered having been used for kirikane was found inside this Buddha statue, and is now kept in Kanagawa Prefectural Kanazawa Bunko Museum.

Chiba Prefecture
Eiko-ji Temple
A standing statue of Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as a Cultural Property by the prefecture
This is a Seiryo-ji Temple style Buddha statue, and a double circle pattern and Hosoge pattern are provided in the breast part of the robe and around the upper parts of both legs.
Shogakuin Temple (located in Yachiyo City)
A standing statue of Shaka Nyorai: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as a Cultural Property by the prefecture
This is a Seiryo-ji temple style Buddha statue, and Kikko and lattice kirikane patterns are provided, being kept in a good state with no missing part.

Yamanashi Prefecture
Ryuen-ji Temple
A seated statue of Amida Tathagata: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as a Cultural property by the city

Fukui Prefecture
Nakayama-dera Temple (located in Takahama Town)
A seated statue of Bato Kannon (Horse-headed Kannon Bosatsu): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property

Shiga Prefecture
Ishiyama-dera Temple
A wooden standing statue of Niten: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
This Buddhist statue is rare in the following meanings: On the statue, hail patterns, kikko patterns and shippo patterns are provided using gold leaf, hail patterns using square silver leaf, and in addition, leaf combining gold leaf and silver leaf is used.
Enryaku-ji Temple
A standing statue of Amitabha Tathagata in Kokuhoden (a national treasure hall): Sculpted in the Kamakura period in the Annamiyo style (Annami style), designated as an Important Cultural Property
A standing statue of Sho-Kannon (Aryavalokitesvara) in the Yokawa-chudo hall (the principal image of the Yokawa-chudo hall): Sculpted in the Heian period, the principle image of the Yokawa-chudo hall, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A standing statue of Fudo myoo in Kokuhoden (a national treasure hall): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Onjo-ji Temple
A seated statue of Shinra Myojin in Shinra Zenjin-do Hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, a Buddhist statue normally withheld from public view, designated as a national treasure
A standing statue of 11-faced Kannon (Goddess of Mercy): Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A seated statue of Fudo Myoo: Sculpted by Moritada in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A statue of Kariteimo sitting on a stool or pedestal usually with both legs pendant: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Shoju-raigo-ji Temple
Standing statues of Nikko bosatsu and Gekko bosatsu in the Kyakuden (guest hall): Sculpted in the Muromachi period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Hyakusai-ji Temple
A seated statue of Nyoirin Kannon: Sculpted in the Muromachi period
Myoo-in Temple (located in Otsu City)
Standing statues of Fudomyoo and Bishamonten: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property

Kyoto Prefecture
Gansen-ji Temple
A statue of Fugen Bosatsu riding on an elephant, in the main hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Kurama-dera Temple
A standing statue of Shokannon Bosatsu in Reiho-den Hall (a hall where temple treasures are kept): Sculpted by Higo betto (secretary in the office of temple) Jokei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Koryu-ji Temple
A seated statue of Jizo Bosatsu and kyoji (attendant figures) in Kodo Hall (a lecture hall): Attributed to Dosho in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A seated statue of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva in Kodo Hall (a lecture hall): Attributed to Dosho in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A standing statue of Zao-gongen Bodhisattva in Reiho-den Hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Shogakuin Temple
A standing statue of Bishamonten (Vaisravana) in Kannon-do Hall (a temple dedicated to Kannon): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as a cultural property by the prefecture
A taste in the late Kamakura period is seen clearly on this statue in the following way: An inter-twined asa no ha pattern is provided on the front shield of the armor, colors are provided by thickly adding kindei on the surface, and copper fittings are also used.
Shogoin Temple
A standing statue of Fudo myoo in the main hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Joruri-ji Temple
Standing statues of Fudo Myoo and two attendants in the main hall: Sculpted in the yosegi-zukuri (a technique of constructing a statue by assembling pieces of wood) in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Standing statues of the Four Devas (now, only those of Jikokuten [Dhrtarastra] and Zochoten [Virudhaka] are placed there) in the main hall: Sculpted in the yosegi-zukuri in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
The hair style and the clothes of the four statues are in the same manner. Kirikane patterns as well as brilliant colors consisting of red, green and gold are used in various parts and are kept in a good state.
Jingo-ji Temple
A standing statue of Bishamonten (Vaisravana) in Bishamon-do Hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Seiryo-ji Temple
A standing statue of Shaka Nyorai (Shakyamuni) in the main hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
This statue characterizes distinctively in its hair, mudra and robe styles, and others, and is known as the original form of the Shaka Nyorai statue in the Seiryo-ji Temple style. Lotus flower and flowing water patterns remain in the kirikane technique, and a linear kirikane is provided on folds of the robe as well.

Daikaku-ji Temple
Godai Myoo (Five Great Myoo): Sculpted by Myoen in the hinoki yosegi-zukuri (a technique of constructing a statue by assembling pieces of hinoki [Japanese cypress]), designated as an Important Cultural Property
Daigo-ji Temple
A seated statue of Miroku Bosatsu in Sanboin Temple: Sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura period, providing an old example where the kindei-nuri (gold painting) is used, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Daihoon-ji Temple
Standing statues of 10 major disciples of Shakyamuni: Sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
To-ji Temple
Standing statues of Kannon Bodhisattva, Brahma-Deva and Sakra devanam Indra (Ninoma Kannon): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Colors are used for the hair, eyebrows, eyes, lips and beards, and on the base of the whole robe, the tachiwaku, asa no ha, slanting lattice, uroko, karakusa, kikko, yotsume-shippo and danka patterns, and so on, in the kirikane technique provide a glamorous texture. Having been kept in zushi (a cupboard-like case with double doors in which an image of the Buddha, a sutra, or some other revered object is kept at a temple), a good state is maintained without almost any portion missing.

A seated statue of Fudo Myoo (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings) in Goei-do Hall (hall dedicated to the sect's founder): Sculpted in the Heian period, a Buddhist statue normally withheld from public view, designated as a national treasure
Ninna-ji Temple
A seated statue of Yakushi Nyorai (the Healing Buddha) in Reimei-den Hall: Sculpted by Ensei and Choen in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure, a Buddhist statue normally withheld from public view
This is a small 11-centimeters high statue of sandalwood. Statues of Nikko Bosatsu and Gekko Bosatsu as kyoji (attendant figures) and statues of Seven Buddha of healing are placed in its halo, and statue of 12 protective deities as kenzoku (disciples or followers of Buddha) are in the pedestal. Connected yotsume shippo patterns and tachiwaku patters and so on are provided in the kirikane technique on the finished bases of the robe, the halo, and the pedestal of the statue of Yakushi. Having been withheld from public view for a long time, the initial state of the kirikane patterns is maintained well.

A seated statue of Aizenmyoo in Reiho-kan Hall: Sculpted in the Heian period made of Japanese cypress, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Byodoin Temple
A standing statue of 11-faced Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) in Hosho-kan Museum: Sculpted in the Heian period, the principal image of the Kannon-do hall, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Bujo-ji Temple
A seated statue of Senju Kannon (Avalokiteshwara with thousand arms): Sculpted in the Heian period made of cherry wood, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Tachiwaku, shippo and kikko patterns are provided all over the clothes such as the hagoromo (feather-robe), johaku (a cloth placed from a shoulder crossly) and the skirt. On the kaeribana (lotus petal design carved around the lower base kiban) and hamaguriza (a kind of pedestal), hail patterns are provided. Connected shippo patterns are provided on the kamachi (frame). Considering the ritual decorations and designs as well as these patterns, it can be said that this is a typical Buddha statue around the end of the Fujiwara period.
Standing statues of Fudo Myoo and two attendants and a standing statue of Bishamonten (Vaisravana) in the main hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Rare patterns, such as suminagashi patterns (patterns made with ink drops) on the Fudo myoo, Kusakuidori birds (grass eating birds) on the statue of Kongaradoji and flowers on branches on the statue of Seitakadoji, are observed on these statues.
Hokai-ji Temple
Standing statues of 12 protective deities: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Hokongoin Temple
A seated statue of 11-faced Kannon Bosatsu: Sculpted by Into (院統), Inkichi and others in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Mimuroto-ji Temple
A standing statue of Shaka Nyorai in the treasure house: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Myohoin Temple
A standing statues of the 28 Attendants of Senju Kannon in Renge Oin Hondo (also referred as Sanju Sangendo Hall): Sculpted in the yosegi-zukuri in the Kamakura period, designated as a national treasure
Rokuon-ji Temple
A statue of Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, the third shogun on the first floor: Sculpted by Sorin MATSUHISA and Shinya MATSUHISA in the Showa period
A statue of Iwaya Kannon and statues of the four guardian kings on the second floor: Sculpted by Sorin MATSUHISA and Shinya MATSUHISA, respectively, in the Showa period
Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple
A standing statue of Jizo Bosatsu in the treasure house: Sculpted in the Heian period, also called Katsurakake Jizo (a jizo having hair on the hands), designated as an Important Cultural Property
A seated statue of Jizo Bosatsu in the treasure house: Attributed to Unkei in the Heian period, also called Yumemi (dreaming) Jizo, designated as an Important Cultural Property

Nara Prefecture
Nara National Museum
A shishi lion: Sculpted from the Heian to Kamakura period
It is supposed that this lion had Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri) on its back originally, and the color of rokusho (a paint made from copper rust, which exhibits green) and linear kirikane patterns are provided on the hair.
A standing statue of 11-faced Kannon: Sculpted in the Kamakura period
A standing statue of Jizo Bosatsu in the treasure house: Sculpted in the Kamakura period
A seated statue of Cintamani-cakra (manifestation of Avalokitesvara): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Slanting lattice patterns and grass flower patterns are provided on the robe, and asa no ha patterns and danka patterns are provided on the skirt part.
A seated statue of Aizenmyoo: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Akishino-dera Temple
Daigensui Myoo in Daigen-do Hall: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Linear kirikane patterns are observed on the hair, but much part of them is lost now.
Abe Monjuin Temple
Statues of the Monju quintet: Sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Eizan-ji Temple
A standing statue of 12 protective deities: Sculpted in the Muromachi period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Ensho-ji Temple (located in Ikoma City)
A seated statue of Shaka Nyorai: Sculpted in the yosegi-zukuri in the Kamakura period
This statue sits in the kekkafuza leg-positioning style with the arms in the Semui-in (mudra for bestowing fearlessness) and Yogan-in (wish-granting mudra) style. Kindei is painted on the body, and connected 卍 patterns, connected shippo patterns and connected asa no ha patterns and so on are provided on the robe.
Kofuku-ji Temple
A standing statue of Shitenno (Four guardian kings) in Higashi-Kondo hall: Sculpted of a hinoki tree wood in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
A standing statue of 12 protective deities in Higashi-Kondo hall: Sculpted by Shuami and others in the hinoki-using yosegi-zukuri in the Kamakura period, designated as a national treasure
A standing statue of Shitenno in Chukon-do Hall (middle golden hall): Sculpted in the yosegi-zukuri in the Kamakura period, Attributed to Kokei, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A standing statue of 12 protective deities in Kokuho-kan (Museum of National Treasures): Made from a board, in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
Saidai-ji Temple (located in Nara City)
A standing statue of Shaka Nyorai in the main hall: A Seiryo-ji Temple style, sculpted by Zenkei and others in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Statues of the Monju quintet in the main hall: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A seated statue of Aizenmyoo in Aizen-do Hall: Sculpted from a hinoki wood by Zenen in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Linear patterns and tachiwaku patterns are provided on the hair and the robe, respectively, in the kirikane technique.
Shoryaku-ji Temple
A seated statue of Kujaku Myoo (The Pheasant Wisdom King): Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as a cultural property by Nara Prefecture
Chokyu-ji Temple
A standing statue of 11-faced Kannon Bosatsu in the main hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Toshodai-ji Temple
A standing statue of Shaka Nyorai in the Rai-do hall (a worship hall): A Seiryo-ji Temple style, sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property, a Buddhist statue normally withheld from public view
Todai-ji Temple
A standing statue of Amitabha Tathagata in Shunjo-do Hall: An Annamiyo style, sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
This is a Buddha statue that Kaikei sculpted in his 'takusho amida butsu' (skilled artisan of Amida Buddha) era, and delicate patterns of connected shippo, yotsume kikko, double lattice and kagome, and so on are provided finely in the kirikane technique.
Standing statues of Nikko Bosatsu and Gekko Bosatsu in Hokke-do Hall: Sculpted in the Nara period, designated as a national treasure
A standing statue of Jizo Bosatsu in Kanjinsho Kokei-do Hall: Sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
This is a Buddha statue that Kaikei sculpted in his Hokkyo phase, and features a beautiful face and gracefully curved robe lines. White clouds and a pure-white Rengeza (lotus seat [under Buddha's statue]) attracts attention, and the kirikane patterns remain in a good state.

Nyoirin-ji Temple
A standing statue of Zao-gongen Bodhisattva: Sculpted by Genkei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Hannya-ji Temple
A statue of Monju Bosatsu Riding on a Lion: Sculpted by Koshun, Kosei and others in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Byakugo-ji Temple
A standing statue of Jizo Bosatsu: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Futai-ji Temple
Statues of Fudo Myoo, Gozanze Myoo (Trailokya-vijaya), Daiitoku Myoo, Gundari Myoo and Kongoyasha Myoo: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Hozan-ji Temple
A standing statue of Fudo Myoo in the main hall: Sculpted in the Edo period
A statue of Butsugen Butsumo: Sculpted in the Edo period
A variety of kirikane patterns, including raimon, swirl, wave, karakusa, tobashi (literally, scattered)-komochi-kikko, kagome, slanting lattice, tobashi-shippo, 卍, and sayagata which is a type of connected 卍 patterns, are provided, and are maintained in a quite good state. In addition, silver leaf is also used in the kirikane technique.

Horyu-ji Temple
A seated statue of Nyoirin Kannon Bosatsu in Dai-Hozoin (Great Treasure Gallery): Made of a tree wood, sculpted in the Tang period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Standing statues of Bonten and Taishakuten (Brahma and Indra) in Denpo-do Hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property, not offered for public view
Standing statues of Bishamonten and Kisshoten (Laksmi) in Kondo Hall (the main hall): Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
Standing statues of the Four Devas in Kondo Hall: The oldest in Japan, sculpted by YAMAGUCHI no Oguchiatai and others in the Asuka period, designated as a national treasure
Standing statues of the Four Devas in Kami no Mido (Worship Hall): Sculpted in the Muromachi period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Seated statues of Prince Shotoku, Yamashiro-O, Eguri-O, Somaro-O and Eji hoshi (Buddhist priest Eji) in Shoryoin Temple: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure

Osaka Prefecture
Kanshin-ji Temple
A seated statue of Aizenmyoo in Reiho-kan Hall: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Koon-ji Temple
A standing statue of Manjusri (bodhisattva) in the treasure hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A standing statue of Nanda Ryuo in the treasure hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property

Wakayama Prefecture
Kongosanmaiin Temple
Seated statues of Gochi Nyorai (Five Buddha Statues representing Five Different Wisdom of Buddha) in the Tahoto pagoda: Sculpted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property, a Buddhist statue normally withheld from public view
Kongobu-ji Temple
A standing statue of Fudo Myoo in Reiho-kan Hall: Sculpted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
A seated statue of Kujaku Myoo (The Pheasant Wisdom King) in Reiho-kan Hall: Sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Kodaiin Temple
Standing statues of Amida Triad: Sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Jokiin Temple
A seated statue of Jizo Bosatsu: Sculpted by Inshu and others in the Kamakura period

Buddhist paintings in which the kirikane technique is used
Collection of Tokyo National Museum
A image of Juntei Kannon: Painted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
The principal image of the Juntei ho (a pure rite) of Esoteric Buddhism, which is learned for avoiding disaster and for searching for a missing child, is placed at the center, surrounded by Shitenno (four guardian kings).
A image of Avalokiteshwara with thousand arms: Painted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
In addition to the main face and the Buddha face at the top, the image has 11 small-sized faces and each 21 big arms in right and left respectively, and Kudokuten (the goddess of fortune and merit) is painted on one side of the main image and Basusen (Buddhist hermit who continually goes on pilgrimage through the wilderness, saving beings who have lost their way) on the other side.
A image of Akasagarbha Bodhisattva: Painted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
The principal image of Kokuzoho (an esoteric rite for fulfilling wishes and averting misfortune) in Esoteric Buddhism is painted in light colors, and a stately atmosphere is given by use of gindei (silver paint) and gold leaf in the Kirikane technique.
A image of Kujaku Myoo (Peacock King, a god with the power to stop the effect of poisons): Painted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
A four-armed Myoo with Bosatsuso (the expression of compassion found on Buddhist images), a deified version of peacocks that eat poisonous snakes and harmful insects, are depicted in magnificent colors and in sensitive kirikane patterns.
Collection of Kyoto National Museum
Shaka Kinkan Shutsugenzu (Shakyamuni Rising from the Gold Coffin): Painted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
This paints the scenes in which Shaka opens the lid of the coffin and preaches, and faces Maya.
Images of 12 Devas: Painted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
The 12 Devas are Katen (literally, fire god: Agni), Suiten (literally, water god: Varuna), Rasetsuten (Rakshasa), Futen (literally, wind god: Vayu), Ishanaten, Enmaten, Taishakuten, Bishamonten (Vaisravana), Bonten (Brahma, a major Hindu deity thought to be responsible for creating the world), Jiten (literally, earth god: Prithivi), Nitten (literally, sun god: Surya), and Gatten (literally moon god). Such kirikane patterns as connected shippo, connected 卍, tachiwaku and slanting lattice are provided.
Collection of Nara National Museum
Ichiji Kinrin Butcho (the principal Buddha of the "Court of the Perfected") Mandala (a diagram that depicts Buddhist deities according to certain geometric formats and illustrates the Buddhist world view): Painted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
This depicts the scene where Ichiji kinrin butcho, provided with a fiery blaze halo, seats on a pedestal made of shishi lions with mudra and gold leaf is used for the accessories.
Daibutcho Mandala (Mandala depicts the nine Buddha-peaks with eight encircling great Buddha-peak): Painted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
This depicts Ichiji Kinrin (also referred as Dainichi Kinrin) seating in a typical Buddhist style with Nichirin (the sun) on the back at the center on Mt. Sumeru, whose clothes provide delicate kirikane patterns of connected shippo, tachiwaku and ishidatami (checker) and others. Furthermore, the Ichiji Kinrin butcho is provided with a unique feature in the decorations, for example, use of silver leaf in the kirikane technique that is rarely found in Buddhist paintings.

A image of Senju Kannon: Painted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
This depicts golden Senju Kannon with 42 arms and 11 faces seating on a lotus pedestal on a rock pedestal, being merged with a natural background.
A image of Nyoirin Kannon: Painted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
The kannon is seated on a lotus flower-provided pedestal, where many kirikane line patterns are used, with his right knee drawn up to his chest. The entire kannon image is enclosed by a halo of a big bright full moon for which kindei is used. The robe and accessories are painted in colors brilliantly, on which delicate kirikane patterns of tachiwaku, lattice and connected 卍 and others are used for giving a stately atmosphere.
A image of 11-faced Kannon: Painted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
The kannon is seated on a white lotus throne on a hodan (treasure platform), with his right arm expressing Yogan-in (wish-granting mudra) and a juzu (beadroll) in the wrist and with his left hand holding a water jar, in which gu renge (red lotus) is inserted, in front of his chest.
A image of Fugen bosatsu (Samantabhadra Bodhisattva): Painted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Light colors are used for the image as a whole. The robe is expressed with curved kirikane patterns, and furthermore, the entire body of the bosatsu is covered with Yoraku (patterns based on the accessories and jewels of ancient Indian aristocracy) made by overlapping cut gold and silver leaves.
An Amida jodo mandala (Pure Land Mandala of Amida): Painted in the Heian period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
Warm colors are used as a whole. Thick vermilion is used for drawing the body lines, and pieces of gold leaf are used for the accessories.
A image of Jizo Bosatsu: Painted in the Kamakura period, designated as an Important Cultural Property
This depicts the bosatsu sitting in a landscape with mountains and waters, and the minute kirikane technique are provided on the robe.
Collection of Jingo-ji Temple in Kyoto Prefecture
A image of Shaka Nyorai: Painted in the Heian period, designated as a national treasure
This paints Shaka sitting alone in the kekkafuza leg-positioning style, and connected shippo kirikane patterns are provided on the robe.
Collection of Ryukoin Temple in (Koya Town) Wakayama Prefecture
Attributed to a image of Kannon emerging from a boat
It is said that this depicts the Kannon who suddenly appeared in the ship, when the Kentoshi Ship (ship for a Japanese envoy to Tang Dynasty China) on which Kobo Daishi boarded met with a storm. This is a rare Buddhist image on which gold color is painted on the kirikane patterns, such as tachiwaku, yotsume-shippo, and modified 卍.