Ink on paper
Nara period/Tenpyoushouhou 8(756)
Tokyo National Museum
Emperor Shômu (r. 724-749) passed away on the second day of the fifth month of Tenpyô Shôhô 8 (756), and on the eighth day of the seventh month of the same year his wife, Empress Kôken (r. 749-758), donated some of his cherished possessions to eighteen major temples, including Tôdai-ji Temple, as a prayer for his happiness in the next world. The Record of Imperial Bequest to Hôryû-ji Temple (J. Hôryû-ji kenmotsu chô) catalogues the objects bequeathed to Hôryû-ji Temple on that occasion.
The Record of Imperial Bequest to Hôryû-ji Temple was originally prepared as a scroll, though later it was cut and remounted in its present format as a framed sheet. Ruled lines were drawn in thin ink on light blue hemp paper, upon which were written a total of twenty-two lines of powerful Chinese-style regular square characters (J. kaisho) and impressively stamped with the red imperial seal. At the end of the page, appears the signature of five influential members of the imperial court of the Nara period (710-794)-Fujiwara Nakamaro, Fujiwara Nagate, Koma Fukushin, Kamo Tsunotari, and Kazuragi Henushi, whose brushstrokes are richly expressive of their individual personalities, whose brushstrokes are richly expressive of their individual personalities.
Many other possessions of Emperor Shômu (701-756, r. 724-749) that were delivered to Tôdai-ji Temple are also famed as the Treasures of the Shôsô-in Repository in Nara. The catalogue of these objects, the Record of Imperial Bequest to Tôdai-ji Temple, is also extant.