Kamakura period (1185–1333)
Wood with gold leaf
Overall: H. 34 5/8 in. (87.9 cm); W. 28 3/4 in. (73 cm); D. 22 3/4 in. (57.8 cm)
Overall (with pedestal): H. 61 in. (154.9 cm); W. 39 in. (99.1 cm); D.39 in. (99.1 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1919
Amida Nyorai (Sanskrit: Amitabha Tathagata), the Buddha of Limitless Light, sits upon a lotus pedestal at the center of the altar. His hands form a mudra of meditation. His benevolent gaze, directed toward the devotee below, is symbolic of his boundless compassion. Amida is flanked by his attendant bodhisattvas (kyōji ), Kannon (Sanskrit: Avalokitesvara) at right, and Seishi (Sanskrit: Mahasthamaprapta) at left, and is escorted by flying celestial beings. This sculptural configuration, known as an Amida Triad, or Amida-sanzon in Japanese, is a visualization of the Welcoming Descent (raigō) of Amida, who descends to this world with his heavenly retinue to provide salvation for all believers who have called upon his name. When a believer dies, Amida and his retinue venture to this world to rescue the deceased.
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