Bodhisattva Padmapani (Avalokiteshvara; Japanese, Kannon), from Kôfukuji

Accession Number

Bodhisattva Padmapani (Avalokiteshvara; Japanese, Kannon), from Kôfukuji


Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
12th century

Medium & Support
wood with trace of color

19 3/16 in. x 6 5/16 in. x 6 5/16 in. ( 48.7 cm x 16 cm x 16 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
Sho ̄ Kannon
Heian period (794–1185)
12th century
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.

Subject matter
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

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Ritual Object

Collection Area

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lotus (motif)

3 Related Resources

Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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