Alms Bowl, c. 900s


Dublin Core


Alms Bowl, c. 900s


This bronze alms bowl has engraved motifs of both flowers and butterflies all around. Its form seems to resemble that of an upside-down mushroom cap. The lip of the bowl seems to be curved inwards.


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The Cleveland Museum of Art


Heian Period (794-1185)




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J. H. Wade Fund




The Cleveland Museum of Art

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Gilt Bronze

Physical Dimensions

Overall: 12.80 x 23.80 cm (5 x 9 5/16 inches)

Museum Description

In the Heian period, there were strong connections between the aristocracy and the Buddhist clergy. During this period, Buddhist monks’ furnishings, robes, walking staffs, incense burners, and even begging bowls became increasingly ornate. Alms bowls used by Buddhist monks to receive donations have traditionally been made of iron or wood. This bowl, made of gilt bronze and decorated with incised designs of birds and flowers in roundels as well as butterflies, is instead a luxury item likely meant for a Buddhist altar, where it would have contained offerings for a Buddhist deity.


Unknown, “Alms Bowl, c. 900s,” Art of Japan, accessed April 23, 2024,

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