Important Cultural PropertySeated Aizen Myoo (Skt. Rāgarāja)

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  • Wood, joined block construction, decorated with metal strips, stone-eyes
  • H 26.2, H(halo) 30.3, H(pedestal) 29.3
  • Kamakura period/Kencho 8(1256)
  • Nara National Museum
  • 958(彫56-2)

This seated statue of Aizen Myoo has six arms, a third eye and a fierce look on its face. Aizen Myoo is a deity of esoteric Buddhism that preaches the principle that earthly desires are in themselves enlightenment (Bonno-soku-bodai) and transforms human passions into a vehicle for enlightenment.

According to the profile of the Buddhist sutra held in the statue and the chrysography on the bottom of the base, Jyakucho, the greatest pupil of Eison who is said to have been a high-ranking priest of Saidai-ji Temple, completed the transcription of a Buddhist sutra known as "Yuga Yugi Kyo" to be stored in the statue at Kedaiin in Higashi-Odawara, Soura-gun, Yamashiro Province on New Year's Eve in 1256. The statue was carved between March 12 and April 1 of the same year. The main sculptor was Kaisei and Kaison and Kaizen were also involved as assistant sculptors

Inscribed on the base is the fact that the statue was created using "the replaced pillar from the front of the Daibutsu-den in Todai-ji Temple." In December 1180, the Daibutsu-den in Todai-ji Temple, which was built at the behest of the Emperor Shomu, burnt down and the building was rebuilt in 1195. It appears that the replaced pillar at the time of the rebuilding was used for the statue. A close look confirms that there are some cracks on the stile of the base and the cracks are covered with cloth for reinforcement. In short, considering the fact that imperfect materials were used, there is a high possibility that a pillar from the fire was used. As a matter of course, it is assumed that the sacredness and spiritual nature of the wooden material would be increased.

In fact, the Jizo-Bosatsu statue in Shunkaku-ji Temple in Muroumura, Uda-shi, Nara was created around the same time using old materials from Daibutsu-den.