Masterpieces of KNM

Gilt Bronze Memorial Tablet of Ono-no-Emishi

Gilt Bronze Memorial Tablet of Ono-no-Emishi

This memorial tablet of Ono-no-Emishi was found in 1613, when an old grave in Kamitakano, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto was excavated. At the time, it was returned to the grave. Later, in the Meiji Period, the grave was robbed, though the tablet was not stolen. In 1914, the tablet was finally removed permanantly from the grave for safekeeping.

The tablet was cast of bronze, engraved with inscriptions on both sides and gilded. The front side records Ono-no-Emishi's career. He served under the Emperor Temmu as a Minor Counsellor (Shonagon), and later became a Senior Fourth Rank official in the Ministry of Justice. The inscription on the backside says that this is grave of Ono-no-Emishi and gives the date of his burial. However, this memorial tablet was made in the Nara Period, some time after his death.

Ono-no-Emishi was the son of Ono-no-Imoko, a well-known envoy who was sent to China during the Sui Dynasty. The inscriptions on this tablet are all we know of Ono-no-Emishi.

Length: 58.9 cm
Width: 5.8 cm
Excavation site: Kamitakano, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city
Nara Period (early 8th Century)
National Treasure
(Sudo Shrine, Kyoto)

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