Important Cultural Property
Lacquered wood, gold leaf, joined block construction, carved eyes
H 178.6; H of halo: 218.2; H of pedestal: 42.9
Heian period/12th century
Provenance: Shinyakushi-ji temple, Nara prefecture
Nara National Museum
This Juichimen Kannon (11 faced Kannon) used to be located in the Kon-do Hall in Shin Yakushiji Temple in Nara as a guarding attendant of the Honzon Yakushi Nyorai statue. Positioning its Heads at two levels, the Juichimen Kannon holds a flower vase in its left hand with its elbow flexed forward and drops its right hand gently with the thumb and the middle fingers touching. This arm line and the standing posture on the lotus flower shaped base with its slightly twisted waist to the left are associated with quiet and slow movement. The features such as the long lower body, small eyes and nose on a small face, the slopping shoulders and the moderately fleshed body create an aura with a soft and elegant sprit. A statue with a similar posture can be found in the Nigatsu-do in Todai-ji Temple, indicating that this is one of the styles of Nanto from the late Heian Period. This type of costume (called a Mo), where the hem is in an M shape and the ankles can be seen, is often seen in statues from the early Heian Period and is thought to be revival style.
The halo is made in a form called Itakohai. In short, the halo is made of plates and the Sukashibori technique is not used and the Karakusa patterns are drawn using colors. Again this form is often seen in Nanto.
Part of the initial style still remains in the lotus flower shaped base.