Heijō Palace – Mokkan announcing Empress Shōtoku’s death uncovered

16 Jan

A mokkan (木簡; wooden tablet) bearing the inscription “天皇崩給” (“The Emperor has passed away”) was uncovered at the ruins of the eastern government offices (東方官衙地区) at the Heijō Palace (平城宮) site (Nara city), where the Efu (衛府; an office that handled palace security and acted as an imperial escort) is believed to have been stationed. Experts believe the “emperor” in question is Empress Shōtoku (称徳天皇; 718-770), known for her relationship with Priest Dōkyō (道鏡). This is the first mokkan recovered that bears the title “emperor” (天皇).

The bottom of the mokkan is missing, and the remainder measures 6.3 centimeters long. The back reads “eighth month of the [ . . . ] year (年八月).

Empress Shōtoku is recorded as having passed away in the eighth month of the first year of Hōki (宝亀), or 770. Additional mokkan bearing the Hōki era name were also uncovered from the same area, lending credit to the view that the mokkan in question refers undoubtedly to Empress Shōtoku.

天皇記す初の木簡 – 称徳天皇?が崩御/平城宮跡
2010年12月4日 奈良新聞

Article retrieved 2010/12/17

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Posted by on January 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


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