- Gallery Text
Each of the sculptures in this case could easily be cradled in the palm of one hand. These personal deities (jibutsu) are intended for private worship or to be carried on the person for protection. The painted faces of the Eleven-Headed Kannon and the monk-bodhisattva Jizō (second and third from left), deities who come to the aid of those who call upon them, have been worn away, probably as a result of handling long before they were placed within the sculpture of Prince Shōtoku. The presence of not one but two images of Kannon may be related to the belief that Shōtoku Taishi was an earthly manifestation of this compassionate bodhisattva.
Two of the sculptures—the other Eleven-Headed Kannon and the Wisdom King Aizen Myōō—are protected within individual shrines. The reddish wood used for the miniature sculpture of Kannon evokes the texture and color of aromatic sandalwood native to India, the Buddha’s homeland, which did not grow in Japan. The fierce, multi-armed Aizen Myōō resides in a portable circular shrine, memorably described by collector Ellery Sedgwick as his "walnut kingdom."
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Small Image of Medicine Buddha Bhaisajyaguru (Japanese: Yakushi Nyorai)
- Other Titles
- Transliterated Title: Yakushi Nyorai
- Work Type
- sculpture, figurine
- Kamakura period, datable to circa 1292
- Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
- Kamakura period, 1185-1333
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Wood; red pigment applied to lips and urna and black pigment to the hair and eyes
- H. 5.1 cm (2 in.)
- [Yamanaka Shoji Co., Ltd, Awata Kyoto (1936)], sold; to Ellery Sedgwick, Beverly, MA, (1936-1960), passed; to his wife, Marjorie Russell, Beverly, MA (1960-1971), inherited; by Ellery Sedgwick, Jr., Gates Mills, Ohio, (1971-1991), inherited; by Walter Sedgwick, Woodside, CA, (1991-2019), partial and promised gift; to the Harvard Art Museums.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Partial and promised gift of Walter C. Sedgwick in memory of Ellery Sedgwick Sr. and Ellery Sedgwick Jr.
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
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- Publication History
John M. Rosenfield, The Sedgwick Statue of the Infant Shotoku Taishi, Archives of Asian Art (1968-1969), Vol. XXII / pp. 56-79, Fig. 34 (2nd from right) / p. 75 (Item S.4 / p. 74)
- Exhibition History
Later Chinese and Japanese Figure Painting in Decorative Arts, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/22/1992 - 06/07/1992
Paragons of Wisdom and Virtue: East Asian Figure Painting, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/15/1997 - 09/21/1997
- Related Works
This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at email@example.com