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, is seated on a lotus pedestal with his hands forming the mudra of meditation. Amida presides over his own paradise, the Western Pure Land, to which he welcomes any being who calls upon his name. His benevolent gaze, directed toward the viewer below, is symbolic of this boundless compassion. The Pure Land sects of Buddhism, with their emphasis on salvation through faith, stirred the imagination of both courtiers and commoners alike, and temples dedicated to Amida were constructed throughout Japan. This statue was created using the “assembled woodblock” (yosegi-zukuri) technique, which allowed a team of sculptors to work simultaneously on the head, body, and limbs.
Originally installed at a temple in the vicinity of Mount Kōya, this sculpture was acquired by the Museum through negotiations with Yamanaka & Co., the pioneering dealer in Japanese art.
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