Important Cultural Property
Wood, gold-leaf on lacquer, carved eyes
Heian period/12th century
Kyushu National Museum
The Amitaba Tathagata image wears a mantle, a cloth covering the left shoulder under the mantle and a Kun (skirt), drops the left arm and bends the right arm with both hands stretching forward and the first and second fingers making Raigo-in (Amitaba Tathagata comes down to receive the dead) and stands on a lotus pedestal with both feet together.
The head and body part from the Nikkei (lump on the head) to the mortise joints on both feet is created out of one horizontal piece of cypress lumber using Warihagi (the split/joint method), Uchiguri (a method to hollow out the inside) and Warikubi (a method to separate/joint the head) techniques. The mild facial expression representing the Jocho style, shallow and sleek-looking clothing lines and the structure of splitting the head and body part into two and separating the head all represent the characteristics of Buddha images in the late Heian period. This is a fine Amitaba Tathagata piece of 3-shaku (90cm), on the back of which is an inscription of the year 598. However, it is not the year when this image was actually created.
It was originally handed down to Genmyoin Temple in Kameoka, Kyoto. According to the history of the temple, Genmyoin Temple was built in 708 by Empress Genmyo, rebuilt by Taira no Shigemori in 1175 and restored in 1587.