From: Japan

Curatorial Section: Asian

View All (17) Object Images

Object Number 29-96-336
Current Location Collections Storage
Culture Japanese | Buddhist
Provenience Japan
Period Kamakura Period
Date Made Kamakura Period
Section Asian
Materials Wood | Lacquer | Pigment
Technique Carved | Lacquered | Painted
Iconography Shotoku Taishi | Child
Inscription Language Japanese Language

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."

Height 106.5 cm
Width 40 cm
Credit Line Bequest of Maxwell Sommerville, 1904
Other Number 25-1963-3 - Philadelphia Museum of Art Number

Report problems and issues to