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Japanese charms

Bodhidharma Holding a Wu Zhu Coin

Bodhidharma Holding a Wu Zhu Coin thumbnail

Bodhidharma (菩提达摩) was a Buddhist monk who came to China from Central Asia or the Indian subcontinent during the 5th or 6th centuries. Little is known about him but he is regarded as the founder of Chan Buddhism (禅) in China. Chan Buddhism eventually migrated to Japan where it further evolved into what is known [...]


Japanese Charm with Unknown Characters

Japanese Charm with Unknown Characters thumbnail

This unusual charm can be found in China but has been puzzling Chinese coin collectors for many years. The reason is that the characters are not Chinese and are not easily recognized as Japanese, either. However, an article in the August 1992 issue of the Japanese magazine “Collections” (收集) provides a plausible answer to the [...]


Japanese Charm of the “Great Buddha of Kamakura”

Great Buddha of Kamakura

A reader was having trouble identifying this “Chinese” charm and wrote me asking if I could provide any assistance. The image displays a Buddha meditating in a lotus position. The charm is made of bronze, has a broad rim, and has a round hole in the center.   The Chinese characters on the other side [...]

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