Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The fragmentary texts displayed here include a section of Chapter 9 of the Lotus Sutra (second from right). This section describes the Buddha’s prediction that both Ananda (his cousin) and Rahula (his eldest son) would attain Buddhahood. Rahula had entered monastic life at just nine years old and was venerated as the protector of monks in training. Ananda was revered by women, having persuaded the Buddha that women should be able to become nuns. Services in honor of both figures became part of the liturgical calendar of the reformist movement led by the monk Eison (1201–1290) in the mid-13th century. The inclusion of this carefully selected section of the Lotus Sutra supports the theory that the sculpture of Shōtoku was commissioned by a group of nuns associated with Eison’s order.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Four Sheets of Paper inscribed with Religious Texts, Poems, Charms [mounted on a board]
Work Type
Kamakura period, datable to circa 1292
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Ink on paper
H. 30.5 x W. 40.6 cm (12 x 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

Exhibition History

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