University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Object Number: 29-96-336
Current Location: Collections storage
Provenience: Japan
Period: Kamakura
Date Made: Kamakura Period
Early Date: 1185
Late Date: 1333
Iconography:Shotoku Taishi
Height: 106.5cm
Width: 40cm
Credit Line:Bequest of Maxwell Sommerville, 1904
Other Number25-1963-3 - Philadelphia Museum of Art Number


Carved and lacquered standing figure of Shotoku Taishi 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.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition (12 Dec 1985 - 21 Oct 2012)View Objects in Exhibition


[Article] Steinhardt, Nancy S. 2008. "The Chinese Rotunda". Arts of Asia. 38 (5): 83-95. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 94, Fig. 29View Objects cited in this Publication
[Catalogue] Lyons, Elizabeth, et al. 1985. Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition. : Page/Fig./Plate: 9,11View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Rosenfield, John. 1969. The Sedgwick Statue of the Infant Shotoku Taishi. Archives of Asian Art. XXII: p. 56-79.View Objects cited in this Publication
[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. 36View Objects cited in this Publication

You may also be interested in these objects:

See a problem? Let us know

© Penn Museum 2016 Sitemap / Contact / Copyright / Disclaimer / Privacy /