A rare koro (incense burner) for entry altar at a Namban temple
Momoyama period (late 16th century) The incense burner constructed out of stoneware pottery bearing the Nose family crest carved in relief with the illegible inscription Shitamura   6 1/2in (16.5cm) high
Provenance: ex Nose family collection
The Nose family was a strongly Christian clan which occupied a very strategically important area adjacent to the Osaka domain. The Nose clan was under command of Akechi Mitsuhide (see lot 1058) in the 1570s and dispatched 500 warriors to aid in the assassination of Oda Nobunaga. For this, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) relentlessly pursued them and ran them out of their fief. Taking refuge in Okayama under the protection of Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), another Christian daimyo, they endured until the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 where they participated on the winning side of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who returned their fief to them, only to take it away due to the political involvement of Christians leading up to the battle of Osaka of 1614. The family crest (resembling the Templar's cross) was not used by the Nose family following the Osaka conflict. The Nose clan was known to have built several Namban (Christian) temples in Japan, including one in the Maeda Domain. During the days of public scrutiny, Namban temples were often disguised as Nichiren-sect Buddhist temples. This particularly large incense burner would have been used at the entrance to such a temple. Though the original etching with the name of the village where the temple was located still remains, some inscriptions on the side that likely associated it with Christianity have been etched out sometime in the past, likely to hide its connection to the Christian faith.
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