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Egôro (ritual censer)

Accession Number
2007/2.6

Title
Egôro (ritual censer)

Artist(s)
Japanese

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1583-1650

Medium & Support
gilt bronze with semiprecious stones

Dimensions
16 1/8 in. x 4 13/16 in. x 3 9/16 in. ( 41 cm x 12.2 cm x 9 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy

Egôro (ritual censer)
JapanMomoyama (1583–1615) to Edo (1615–1867) periods 16th to 17th century
Gilt bronze with semiprecious stones
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund, 2007/2.6

In Japanese Buddhist rituals, the egôro, or long-handled censer, signifies the authority of the celebrant. During a ritual it is placed in front of the icon of the divinity, and the fragrant smoke of the incense is believed to clear away evil spirits. Originally used in Buddhist rituals, these censers were adopted by practitioners of Japan’s indigenous Shinto ̄ spiritual tradition and used for similar ritual purposes. This egôro is decorated with many Buddhist motifs: at the end of the L-shaped handle, a lion is seated on a lotus pedestal; auspicious clouds are etched into the rim of the brazier; the grille depicts the swirling stocks and flowers of lotuses; and at the center of the lid is a wish-fulfilling jewel, symbolic of blessings.



Subject matter
In Japanese Buddhist rituals, a long-handled censer, egôro, signifies the celebrant’s authority. In processions the chief priest leads the other monks, holding an egôro. During the ritual, he frequently picks up the egoro and places it in front of the image of deity to offer incense to the deity. Fumigation is believed to clear evil sprit.
This beautiful, gilded egôro was used in rituals of Japan’s indigenous Shintô religion. Since the introduction of Buddhism to Japan in 7th century, Shinto adopted many aspects of Buddhist practices and representations. The UMMA egôro has familiar Buddhist motifs, such as a lion on the knob handgrip, lotus flowers on the brazier lid and the handle, and a stylized jewel shape on the mounting between the brazier and the handle.

Physical Description
It is a bronze incense burner with a long handle. The circular bowl is a brazier, in which incense is burnt in Shinto rituals. The brazier has a fluted mouth and double-lines on the outside body. A circular foot, in a chrysanthemum shape, is attached to the brazier. There is a support that connects between the brazier and the foot. The brazier’s lid has an intricate openwork design of lotus flower scrolls with a knob in the shape of a lotus bud. The rim has an incised, stylized design of clouds. The mounting between the brazier and the handle is in the shape of Buddhist jewel with two semi-precious stones. The handle has carved lotus flower scrolls, and the end of which is bent at a right angle and joined to a round pedestal. Rising from the pedestal is a small statue of a lion on a lotus-shape pedestal, which serves as a knob handgrip when the incense burner is held.

Primary Object Classification
Metalwork

Primary Object Type
incense burner

Additional Object Classification(s)
Metalwork

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Buddhism
Chrysanthemum (genus)
gems (worked stones)
incense burners
lotus (motif)
rituals (events)

1 Related Resource

Buddhism
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved