Kamakura period (1185–1333)
Wood with lacquer and cut-gold decoration
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
This figure seated in meditation on a lotus pedestal with his hands joined in the mudra of contemplation represents the Buddha Amida. Lord of the Western Paradise or Pure Land, Amida promises salvation to all who sincerely believe in him. His gaze, directed benevolently downward as if welcoming the devotee into his paradise, symbolizes his boundless compassion for mankind. The Pure Land sects of Buddhism, with their emphasis on salvation through faith, stirred the imagination of both courtiers and commoners alike. Temples dedicated to Amida were constructed throughout Japan, and one of the most renowned is the Phoenix Hall at Byōdō-in in Uji, a suburb of Kyoto. Dedicated in 1053, it houses an ethereal beautiful statue of Amida by Jōchō, the leading court sculptor of the day. Although the Museum's statue is more robust than Jōchō's, the elegantly refined style and assembled woodblock technique reflect the influence of high sculptural tradition.
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