Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This finely woven silk pouch was found inside the sculpture, but conflicting archival records make it difficult to determine what exactly the bag contained. It may have contained Buddha relics (2019.122.8) or a larger object, perhaps the scroll (2019.122.19). Although the scroll has no title, it is identifiable as a Buddhist text on the fundamental emptiness of reality called "Shinnyokan," attributed to the influential Buddhist cleric Genshin (942–1017). A handful of early versions of the text are known in Japan, but this scroll, dated the 27th day of the 10th month of the year 1282, is the earliest surviving manuscript copy of the work.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Silk Bag
Textile Arts
Work Type
Kamakura period, datable to circa 1292
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Silk; twill fabric with alternate polychrome striping (yellow, pale green, brown, white) and twill-on-twill damask checkering
max. H. 18.8 x W. 12.1 cm (7 3/8 x 4 3/4 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. 15 / p. 70 (Item F / pp. 69-71)

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