National / Science & Health

Okinawa's Tamaudun ancient royal mausoleum to be listed as national treasure

JIJI

The Tamaudun ancient royal mausoleum in Okinawa will become the second cultural asset in the prefecture to be listed as a national treasure.

The Council for Cultural Affairs submitted recommendations Friday for the national treasure listing, as well as eight designations as important cultural properties, to culture minister Masahiko Shibayama.

The designations are expected to be officially announced soon.

Built west of Shuri Castle in Naha, the prefecture’s capital, in 1501, Tamaudun was the mausoleum of the second Sho dynasty in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It has three chambers and is surrounded by stone walls.

Bodies were first placed in the middle chamber. After the senkotsu bone-cleansing ritual, the remains of kings and queens were moved to the east room, and those of others to the west room.

Tamaudun and Shuri Castle are part of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In Okinawa, Sho dynasty-related documents have already been designated as a national treasure. Tamaudun will be the first building to obtain the status there.

The eight assets to be listed as important cultural properties include Osaki Shrine in the city of Mooka, Tochigi Prefecture. The shrine, which is said to have a history dating back over 1,500 years, is known for the colorful exterior decorations of its halls, including dragon reliefs and geometric designs. It is believed to have started the spread of decorative architecture in the Kanto region.