Keman Ritual BannerBoxwoodLane.com
Antique Buddhist Keman Ritual Banner – made of gilded copper - circa late Edo or early Meiji period – mid 1800’s. These banners were traditionally hung from the crossbeam of the inner sanctuary above the figure of Buddha in his shrine. It's a representation of what originally was simply a bunch of offertory fresh flowers tied in a bowknot. Hence, the lotus blossoms and leaves depicted in the pierced decoration flanking the bow and tassels. In the Buddhist tradition the lotus represents spiritual purity and enlightenment.
These banners were also used during funerals as a hotoke to represent the soul of the departed and to ensure they were blessed with enlightenment from the Buddha in heaven. This particular piece was used for that purpose. The Japanese writing indicates that this was given as a gift for someone’s funeral and contains a prayer for the departed. The name of the departed is referenced as “Antei” or “Azure”.
The hanging pendant ornaments are stylized flowers, in this case Dicentra, or Bleeding Heart flowers, called keman-so in Japan because the shape of the flower resembles the keman. The hanging ornaments also include white glass or jade beads.
This is certainly a rare and unique item that would complement an existing collection, or serve as an outstanding statement piece. Its size certainly captures attention in a room at about 12.75" wide and 13.25" tall (not including the hanging decorations).
- Measures about 12.75" wide and 13.25" tall to the top of the hanging ring. Including the hanging decorations, the piece measures about 19.5" tall.
- Part of our Estate Collection and in very good vintage condition. The finish on this piece has aged and certainly looks like it with various stains, scrape, and scratches. We couldn't find much in the way of dents, if anything, only very minor dents. It currently has four strings of decorations, but it appears to have originally had five. The center string is missing. And there are smaller pieces missing from the existing strings. Overall, it's in wonderful shape, considering its age.
Learn more about our condition categories, and the packaging for our Estate Collection items here.
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