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Archaeology

Tile with Angel Design

  • Dimensions: 39 x 39 x 8 cm
  • Excavation site: Oka, Asuka Village, Takaichi County, Nara Prefecture
  • Asuka Period (late 7th Century)
  • Important Cultural Property
  • (Oka-dera Temple, Nara)

This tile is almost square in shape and is decorated on one side. The decorated surface side has a plain 3.8 cm-wide edging within which has been carved in relief the figure of a kneeling angel holding a holy cloth. Her garments wave gracefully in the wind as she looks upward towards heaven. Some of the angel's hair rests on her shoulders but some flows above her, suggesting that she has just descended from Heaven.

There are few examples of illustrated tiles in Japan. The only tile similar to this is one with a phoenix decoration excavated at Oka-dera Temple. Such tiles are thought to have been produced under the influence of Korean tiles.

This tile may have been attached to the central Buddhist sculpture of Okadera Temple, perhaps on one side of the shumidan platform.

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