Carved and lacquered standing figure of Shotoku Daishi as a young child with hands held palms together in front of chest. The Japanese consider Prince Shotoku (r. 575-621 CE) the founder of Japanese Buddhism. Because of his ardent support of Buddhism, coupled with his personal devoutness, a cult of worship developed around the prince. The cult became especially popular after the 13th century. Images of Shotoku as a child are widespread because, according to legend, Prince Shotoku made his first invocation to Amida Buddha at the age of two. The statue has an upper torso bare and lower a garment hangs down over the feet. The head was removed and replaced but now sinks slightly lower at neck. Bald, round face which has blackened over time along with the body. The piece probably originally contained objects in the body cavity. An inscription on the interior cavity says Kingiku's (which might be a child's name) dead spirit should go to the Gokuraku paradise.
Bequest of Maxwell Sommerville, 1904
Current & Past Exhibitions:
Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition (12 Dec 1985 - 21 Oct 2012)
[Article] Steinhardt, Nancy S. 2008. "The Chinese Rotunda". Arts of Asia. 38 (5): 83-95. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 94, Fig. 29
[Catalogue] Lyons, Elizabeth, et al. 1985. Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition. : Page/Fig./Plate: 9,11
[Article] Rosenfield, John. 1969. The Sedgwick Statue of the Infant Shotoku Taishi. Archives of Asian Art. XXII: p. 56-79.
[Book] Sommerville, Maxwell. 1904. Monograph of the Buddhist Temple in the Free Museum of Science and Art, University of Pennsylvania. 1-47. : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 36
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