The Sacred Combs of Empress Jingu (169-269AD)

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The Sacred Combs of Empress Jingu (169-269AD)
47 in
32 in
(119 cm x 81 cm)
Photo Credit
Gordon Wenzel
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An ancient scroll was recently discovered hidden inside the back of the lotus-petal base of the 1000-armed, 11-headed Kannon Buddha at Rengeo-in (better known today as Sanjusangendo Temple). Translated, it describes the story of a monks' pilgrimage in 1166AD (shortly after the temple was founded) to retrieve Japanese Empress Jingu’s tortoise-shell combs that she (according to legend) offered to the gods before cutting her hair and leading her troops to victory dressed as a soldier at the front line of battle about 1000 years before. The scroll reads: “Follow the path on the map deep into the western hills of Miyako (modern day Kyoto) until you come upon a lotus pond that marks the entrance to a small moss garden. The spirits of the sacred deer are waiting to welcome you. By the light of the 11th full moon, the Empress’s three treasured combs will be revealed among a blanket of brightly colored fallen maple leaves.”
Cottons: commercial, hand-painted, and hand-stenciled; hand-dyed cheesecloth; wooden temple plack; beads, buttons, and combs; cotton batting, thread.

Both hand-stenciling and hand-painting of fabrics. Machine pieced and machine qQuilted. Embellished by hand.