Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The booklets in this case are copies of Buddhist texts that could have easily been carried on the person. At right is a non-canonical text devoted to the deity Jizō, who appears in the guise of a monk to deliver humans from suffering. (A small wooden sculpture of Jizō was also placed inside the Sedgwick Shōtoku and is displayed nearby.) The text in the center has so far defied identification. The booklet on the left contains Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra, arguably the most widely known Buddhist scripture in East Asia. It describes how the compassionate deity Kannon will rescue those in peril if they call for aid. The bottom half of the first page has been worn away, perhaps by the caressing movement of a thumb across the page as the owner chanted the sacred words of the sutra over and over again.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2019.122.20
Title
Text of the Twenty-Fifth Chapter (Kanzeon Bosatsu Fumonbon) of the Lotus Sutra (Myōhō Rengekyō)
Other Titles
Transliterated Title: Myōhō Rengekyō: Kanzeon Bosatsu Fumonbon
Classification
Manuscripts
Work Type
manuscript
Date
Kamakura period, datable to circa 1292
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/199868
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Manuscript booklet; ink on paper; heavy brown paper covers; pages incised with vertical guide lines
Dimensions
H. 14.9 x W. 5.2 cm (5 7/8 x 2 1/16 in.)
Provenance
[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
2019.122.20
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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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

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

Prince Shōtoku: The Secrets Within, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/25/2019 - 08/11/2019

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 am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu