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Plaque - Artifacts

Image Plaque
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Wood Plaques A: Placque painted on the front is a picture of the badger on a tight rope with a yellow umbrella. On his back is a black tea kettle with white kanji. Above left are black kanji characters: "Avoid misfortune (especially traffic accidents)". Below right is a red seal. The plaque is wider at the bottom than the top, and the top is pointed. A yellow braided cord is tied through hole in top. On the back is Stamped two circles with kanji in red. B: Badger Plaque, H: 2.875", W: 5.375", D: .25", wooden rectangular plaque with peak in center painted red trim resembling a roof, On the front is a hand painted badger in black with white eyes, nose and ears. In the lower right hand corner are two Japanese characters "Usagi Tsuki" (Artist's name meaning rabbit in the moon), in black ink and one in red ink. On the back is a pyro engraved design of tea kettle and kanji "Bumbuku Morinji Miyage" (temple souvenir). Above this written in ink, "17. Ema". Story of Bumbuku Chagama or The Magic Tea Kettle A priest at the Morinji Buddhist temple in Tatebayashi, Kotszke was very fond of the tea ceremony and he often looked for beautiful utensils. He polished an old tea kettle he had found at a second hand shop and put it aside. One day as he was admiring the beautifully shaped kettle he fell asleep. Suddenly the tea kettle sprouted a badger head, tail and legs and began to move around. The priest's pupils next door rushed in when they heard a noise and were astonished to see the badger/tea kettle, but when they woke the priest the kettle resumed its former shape. He did not believe what they told him and that evening he decided to make tea with the tea kettle. The kettle got hotter and hotter as the water heated over the brazier and the kettle quickly turned into a badger and jumped away. When they caught up with the kettle it once again resumed its ordinary shape. Thinking that the kettle must be bewitched, the priest decided to get rid of it. He offered to sell it to a tinker (a junkman who fixes items to resell) for a very cheap price. The tinker asked why he would want to sell such a nice kettle cheaply. The priest answered that he had other kettles. Taking the kettle home the tinker believed he had made an excellent deal. That night the tinker was woken by a voice calling him. He looked up to see a kettle with a badger head, tail and feet. The badger/kettle told him that he was not an ordinary kettle, but a badger who could transform himself into a kettle and his name was Bumbuku (Good Luck). He said he was willing to be of service to the man and that the priest had not understood his value and has subjected him to pain. Bumbuku said if he were treated with respect and fed rice cakes he would, in return, perform acrobatic feats and dances. So the tinker built an outdoor theatre and advertised performances of "Bumbuku, The Magic Teakettle of Good Luck, and His Extraordinary Tricks". The most popular trick was when Bumbuku walked across a tight rope, carrying a parasol and a fan. The act became very popular and at the end of twenty days the tinker became rich. He was concerned about overworking Bumbuku and had enough money to be comfortable for the rest of his life. After talking with Bumbuku he took an offering and the kettle back to the priest. He told the priest what had happened and asked if Bumbuku could retire to the temple, be fed rice cakes and not be put over a fire. The priest agreed and put him in an honored place in the temple's treasure house, where he remains to this day.
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