- Gallery Text
These sheets of paper bear short vows, poems, and sections of the Lotus Sutra; some have signatures on the reverse. One vow is signed by the nun Kangyō, whose name also appears at the end of a series of three prayers displayed nearby (2019.122.11). Here her name is accompanied by those of four men, all with noble ranks, who declare their shared commitment to the Buddha path. Kangyō may have been central to the commission of the sculpture, and perhaps enlisted the financial backing of these courtiers for the project.
An anonymous writer copied half of a well-known classical waka poem onto the sheet at the top of the board:
I have come to know
The true meaning of spring:
When the blooms are bursting,
There are none with quiet hearts!
The writer omits the final line, creating a permanent and poignant connection between the incomplete version interred within the sacred sculpture and the writer within whom the unwritten line remains.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- One of Six Sheets of Paper (some double-sided) inscribed with Religious Texts, Poems, Charms
- Work Type
- Kamakura period, datable to circa 1292
- Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
- Kamakura period, 1185-1333
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Ink on paper
- max. H. 6.5 × W. 5.2 cm (2 9/16 × 2 1/16 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
- Related Works
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