Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14
July 31, 2012 (Tue) - September 17, 2012 (Mon)
The two Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana) statues exhibited here share many similarities in style and structure, as well as in the types of dedicatory objects contained within the statues and the manner of their installation. Both statues are thought to be the works of Unkei, a sculptor of Buddhist statues in the early Kamakura period (1192-1333). The plinth of the Kotokuji temple statue (adorned with four Chinese lions) and the halo were both produced around the same time as the statue itself, as was the shrine with the 37 Buddha figures riding on clouds within. It is likely that the Shinnyo-en temple statue was also originally furnished with similar ornamentation. In this exhibition, the Shinnyo-en statue is displayed so that it can be viewed from every direction. The hair, posture, body curves and folds of the clothing all appear strikingly realistic from any angle, whether front, side or back. These works demonstrate the expertise of Unkei, one of the greatest sculptors in the history of Japanese art.
Koen was Unkei's grandson, and Seated Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri) and Attendants is his representative work. His work is modest, compared to the grandness of the sculptors of Unkei's generation. Nonetheless, the vigorous and realistic expression of the Chinese lion was inherited from Unkei. The decorative beauty such as found in the plinth and the halo are notable characteristics of his work. The statues are exhibited here for these details to be viewed closely.