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Images from The Beede Gallery

Dobatsu (Cymbals), Japan, 1853

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NMM 5268.  Dobatsu (cymbals), Japan, 1853

NMM 5268. Dobatsu, Japan, 1853. Pair of bronze cymbals with stamped and embossed decoration. Light brown, woven cord inserted through hole in center of each cymbal, tied with decorative knot. Circular, wooden discs threaded onto cord to facilitate holding the dobatsu while playing. According to inscriptions on the inner rims of the two cymbals, the set was donated by Ôkubo Kôzaemon Masayoshi—most likely a samurai—in honor of his deceased parents, to the Myôgen Temple in Mt. Hoyô, Japan, April 2, 1853. Diameter: 37.5 cm. Purchase funds gift of Flora and John W. Larson, Vermillion, 1992.

Additional Views of the Cymbals

NMM 5268.  Dobatsu (cymbals), Japan, 1853

View 2

View 3

View of Knot Wooden disk

Inscriptions on Inner Rim

Inscription on inner rim

According to the inscriptions found on the inside rims of both cymbals, a wealthy person (possibly a samurai) named Ôkubo Kôzaemon Masayoshi donated this pair of dobatsu to the Myôgen Temple at Mt. Hoyô (the exact location of the temple is virtually impossible to identify due to name changes made since the mid-19th century). They were presented to a monk (named in the text) of the Nichirenshu sect, who dedicated them at the temple on April 2, 1853 (date arrived at by deciphering a zodiac-based symbolic dating system inscribed on the inside rim of one of the cymbals), at which time a service was held and sutras were read on behalf of the donor's ancestral parents who are identified on the dobatsu by their posthumous Buddhist names.

Close-up Samples of Some of the Inscription

Inscription detail 1

Inscription detail 2

Inscription detail 3

Inscription detail 4


"Recent Acquisitions," The Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 3 (April 1992), p. 2.

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