Sutra Container, 12th century

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As early as the ninth century, the Japanese began to bury sutras (Buddhist sacred texts). Scrolls were put into bronze or ceramic containers and placed within small stone chambers over which earth was heaped. This practice arose in response to belief in mappō, or the decline of the Buddhist Law, which was calculated to commence in 1052. During mappō, the world would be chaotic and people would be incapable of following the Buddha's teaching until the arrival of Miroku, the Buddha of the Future. Sutras were buried to preserve the sacred scriptures until Miroku arrived.

Sutra Container
11 1/4 in. (28.58 cm)
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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