Bodhisattva Padmapani (Avalokiteshvara; Japanese, Kannon), from KôfukujiArtist(s)JapaneseArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Date12th centuryMedium & Supportwood with trace of colorDimensions
19 3/16 in. x 6 5/16 in. x 6 5/16 in. ( 48.7 cm x 16 cm x 16 cm )Credit LineMuseum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection FundLabel copy
Heian period (794–1185)
Wood with trace of color
Museum purchase made possible
by the Margaret Watson Parker Art
Collection Fund, 1969/1.106
This sculpture of Sho Kannon, the bodhisattva of compassion (Korean: Kwan-um; Chinese: Gwanyin; Sanskrit: Avalokiteshvara) was produced as part of a set of one thousand sculptures and dedicated to the powerful temple of Ko ̄fuku-ji in Nara. The production of large groups of Buddhist sculptures was a common practice among the social elite of the Heian period, and the creation of multiple images of Kannon was believed to increase the divinity’s powers of salvation. Within this monumental sculptural production, each image of Sho Kannon was individualized with different faces and postures.
Kannon remains one of the most popular bodhisattvas in Japanese Buddhism and is believed to have various, often visually dramatic, manifestations. Sho Kannon, who takes a recognizably human form, is one of the most generic. Originally this figure would have held an unopened lotus bud, which represents purity, in his left hand.
Kannon (Kuan Yin in Chinese), is the Lord Looking Down with Compassion. Among Kannon's many manifestations, Sho Kannon is the most basic form. He is often worshipped as an individual deity.Physical Description
The figure is standing on a lotus-shaped pedestal; the hair is tied as a knot on top of the head; a crown is also on the top. The face has two elongated ears, round eyeblows, eyes looking downward; the lips are shut; sloping sholders are wrapped with thin robe, which hung toward the knees. Right hand, showing a palm, is raised to the chest while the left hand is by the lower abdomen, as if holding something. The three wrinkles can be seen on the neck. All are made of wood.Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypefigureAdditional Object Classification(s)Ritual ObjectCollection AreaAsianRights
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