Slow Walk Illustrated Guide


Zentsu-ji Tanjo-in Birthplace Complex (West Temple)

Gilded Copper Staff Head



This is a Gilded Bronze Staff Head; it is a national treasure. A staff is one of the 18 objects a Buddhist priest is permitted to have in his possession. It is an essential ritual implement used during songs in praise of Buddha’s virtues, which are sung at Buddhist services and ceremonies. This staff is said to have been presented by the Master Huiguo (Keika-oshō) to Kobo Daishi (Kukai) during his visit to China in the early Heian period. It features 10 statues of virtuous characters on its front and back, including Amitābha and the Four Heavenly Kings (Dhrtarastra, Virudhaka, Virupaksa, and Vaisravana). This cast copper staff has a gilded surface. Its fretwork halo, design elements on the armors of the Four Heavenly Kings statues, and other carefully crafted and detailed features are examples of superb workmanship, even amongst the metalwork of China’s Tang Dynasty.

Designated Section

National treasure


Gilded copper casting: 27.0cm in overall height


China’s Tang Dynasty


Zentsu-ji Treasure Hall, 3-3-1 Zentsuji-cho, Zentsuji City, Kagawa Prefecture