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A4132 Shrine, Butsudan,Buddhist, wood / lacquer, Japan, [early 19th Century]. Click to enlarge.

Butsudan, Japanese Buddist shrine

Made in Japan, LATE 19TH CENTURY.

This exquisitely lacquered Buddhist altar or butsudan is a household altar which is an essential part in the life of a traditional Japanese family as it is the centre of spiritual faith within the household. This particular altar was probably used by high ranking Japanese and wealthy family.

In Japan, one of the most enduring social and religious traditions has been commemorating rituals to devote to the ancestral spirits. For ancestor worship, both butsudan and kamidan were used. A butsudan wa...


Object No.


Object Statement

Shrine, Butsudan,Buddhist, wood / lacquer, Japan, [early 19th Century]

Physical Description

Rectangular, black and gold, lacquered cabinet. Separate base fitted with three small drawers above two larger drawers. Separate cupboard-like top section with double-hinged outer doors fastened by ornate metal panels and vertical bolt. Enclosed by these are a pair of gold inner doors, slatted, double-hinged and lined with net fabric. Interior of cabinet fitted with grottos and galleries of carved wood in black and gold lacquer. Birds, dragons, and flora have been carved into the meandering grotto decoration. One carved wooden Buddha figure still standing in alcove on right hand side. Two other figures along with broken fragments of carving are currently detached from shrine.



2110 mm


1050 mm


800 mm





Credit Line

Purchased 1948

Acquisition Date

27 April 1948

Cite this Object


Butsudan, Japanese Buddist shrine 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 March 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Butsudan, Japanese Buddist shrine |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 March 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Icons: From the MAAS Collection at the Powerhouse Museum.


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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