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Standing Figure of Buddhist Guardian

Asian Art

The figure is constructed in the yosegi technique, in which numerous blocks of wood are hollowed out and joined together. Since the figure's attributes are now lost, its exact identification is unknown. The stance, with weight resting on one leg, and the dexterous carving of the armor in the fashion of a Chinese officer of the Tang dynasty, identify the figure as one of the Twelve Heavenly Generals who guard Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Healing. An inscription on the tenon supporting the sculpture in its pedestal leads us to attribute the piece to the artist Joga, a sculptor principally known for his association with Jokei (of the Kei School) in work done for Kofuku-ji, Nara, around 1200.

MEDIUM Wood sculpture with traces of polychromy
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 13th-14th century
    PERIOD Kamakura Period
    DIMENSIONS 23 7/16 x 11 5/8 in. (59.5 x 29.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund and Museum Collection Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Standing Figure of Buddhist Guardian, 13th-14th century. Wood sculpture with traces of polychromy, 23 7/16 x 11 5/8 in. (59.5 x 29.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund and Museum Collection Fund, 61.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 61.1_front_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 61.1_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The piece has been attributed to "Joga" on the basis of a signed sculpture from the same set now in the Nara Museum. (This sculptor has not been further identified.) Since the attributes, originally held in each hand, are now lost, positive identification of this figure is impossible, but he appears to be one of the twelve divine generals. "Yoseki" or multiple block construction with hollow center. Originally the piece was entirely polychromed. Traces of fabric which covered the joins, a small area of gilt and lacquer pattern, and traces of polychrome remain. Condition: repairs on left shoulder and right elbow. Small details of drapery broken off. Modern "cloud-shaped" stand.
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