Padlock discovered at an ancient Japanese imperial palace

A part of a padlock was recovered at the Asukakyo Ato Enchi ruins in Nara Prefecture’s Asuka village. The site is known for remnants of artificial ponds and is believed to be Japan’s first major garden built at an imperial palace. The padlock is covered with lacquer used for decorations. It suggest that it was an important lock used in the palace near the pond.

Shackle of a padlock from Asuka (by The Asahi Shimbun)
Shackle of a padlock from Asuka (by The Asahi Shimbun)

The artefact dating back to the late seventh century was found where an irrigation canal was once located just north of the northern pond. It is believed to be the shackle for a type of ancient padlock known as “ebijo” (shrimp or prawn padlock) and is one of the oldest of its kind found in Japan, dating back to the Asuka Period (late 6thcentury-early 8th century), state the scientists from Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture. The ebijo padlock is believed to have been brought to Japan from China and the Korean Peninsula around that time period.

(after The Asahi Shimbun)

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