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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
Non-Canonical Sutra Booklet without Title Page (text begins "Kaku no gotoki")
Work Type
Kamakura period, datable to circa 1292
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Booklet manuscript; ink on paper; dark, gray-brown paper, pages glued at binding, no hard cover
H. 12.3 × W. 5.5 cm (4 13/16 × 2 3/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
[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

Exhibition History

Related Works

Verification Level

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