Important Cultural Property
Color on wood, single block construction, stone-eyes
Kamakura period/Bunnei 10(1273)
Nara National Museum
This standing statue of Shaka Nyorai (national treasure) is enshrined as a Honzon (main image of worship) in Seiryo-ji Temple in Saga, Kyoto and is an imitation of the Udenno Shibo statue commissioned by Japanese monk Chonen in 985 during his pilgrimage to Sung China. It has been worshiped as a Shaka statue, which came down from India via China. Many of these imitated statues have been created since the Kamakura Period and this statue is one of them. The statue has hair just like a coiled rope and wears a Daie (a traditional robe) that has concentric pleats and a tight collar and it is clear that the statue imitated the special form of iconography of the original statue. However, unlike the exotic features of the original, this has a simplicity specific to the Kamakura Period. It clearly reflects the features of the Kamakura Period, which include a figure with a large head and the concentric pleats that extend to the area between both legs. Therefore, the typical exotic impression of the original has weakened.
According to the ink inscription on the base, this statue was made by the Buddhist monk Genkai, in 1273 using old materials from Furuhashi-ji Temple Kondo of Gango-ji Temple. As Kukai did not make other statues, the details of Kukai as a sculptor of Buddhist statues are unknown. Although the statue was made from Japanese nutmeg using a carving technique known as Ichiboku-zukuri, the head part was made from other materials and hollowed out using the Uchiguri technique and the eyes were fit in and articles were stored inside.