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Thousand-Armed Kannon (Sahasrabhuja); Kannon (Avalokitesvara)
Important Cultural Property
2 pieces (1 hanging scroll & 1 statue)
Ink and colors on silk; Lacquered wood with gold leaf, carved eyes, jointed block construction
H 93.8, W 39.5; H 53.0
Heian period/12th century
Nara National Museum
1105(絵204 A)
Senju Kannon is one of the Henge Kannon (a word commonly used to describe Kannon in supernatural form). It is actually called Senju-Sengan-Kanjizai-Bosatsu and its one thousand arms and eyes demonstrate the depth of its compassion. This painting is famous as a unique example of an authentic Buddhist painting stored in a wooden statue. Despite the damage, it can be presumed that the wooden statue was a Juichimen Kannon and made at the end of the Heian period. This painting seems to have made in an era a little earlier than that. It is relatively small, but the magnificence of the Senju Kannon itself, the pedestal and the Tengai (a kind of canopy) create a sense of dignity. The coloring is based on the contrast between red and green and several colors mixed with gold and silver leaves are simply but finely used to add a sense of openness to this painting. The many arms form a beautiful circle as if they are a part of a Halo and this contributes to reduce the degree of weirdness of the image. Most arms and weapons among various possessions based on a Kyoki were drawn as a draft, but they were intentionally omitted at the coloring stage. In addition, it seems the feature of a pot on the abdomen that is represented in a similar style as lacquer-coated furniture is ideal for personal worship.