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Object Number:29-96-336
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: Japan
Period: Kamakura Period
Date Made: Kamakura Period
Early Date: 1185
Late Date: 1333
Iconography:Shotoku Taishi
Inscription Language:Japanese Language
Height: 106.5 cm
Width: 40 cm
Credit Line:Bequest of Maxwell Sommerville, 1904
Other Number:25-1963-3 - 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 a circualr disc in the interior cavity reads: 金菊聖靈 往生極樂. Which translates as: "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
Buddhist Asia (21 Oct 2012 - 01 Apr 2022) View Objects in Exhibition


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[Book] Winegrad, Dilys P. 1993. Through Time, Across Continents.. The University Museum. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 70, fig. 58View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Catalogue] Possehl, Gregory L., and Ch'eng-mei, Chang, and Peters, Heather A., and Lyons, Elizabeth. 1985. Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition.. Philadelphia. The University Museum. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: 9,11View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] Sommerville, Maxwell. 1904. Monograph of the Buddhist Temple in the Free Museum of Science and Art, University of Pennsylvania.. Philadelphia. pg. 1-47 Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 36View Objects related to this Actual Citation

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