Important Cultural PropertyMahasthamaprapta (Seishi Bosatsu)

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  • 1 piece
  • Gold-plated bronze
  • Total H36.0Statue H17.1
  • Sui period/6th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • TC-652

Since a water jar is attached on the front side of the crown, this must be an image of Seishi Bodhisattva (Mahashamaprapta), an attendant standing on the right side of Amitaba Tathagata (the central image). It has a sacred gem-shaped nimbus that is relatively large for the body and its symbol in the left hand and stands with its right hand grasping the tenne (a long cloth). Overall, the front view is emphasized, such as the slender body line and innocent-looking small face and despite its rather monotonous representation, it has a solid presence. The most noticeable feature of this image is its decoration: An elaborately carved brilliant crown, hanging locks of hair with ends that twist freely, gorgeous and weighty, yet adequately warped beaded decorations and a necklace, thin and flowing crown decorations and tenne hanging down on both sides of the image with their ends twisted. The elaborate, yet unobtrusive, decorations represent a modest design. The halo, on which arabesque, kebutsu (transformed Buddha) and flower patterns are arranged, has a stereoscopic effect and serves to increase the beauty of the decorations on the image, suggesting that the halo constitutes an original part of this work. Unfortunately, the bottom half of the original pedestal has been lost and replaced by a new one. However, it is likely that the pedestal may have been a decorative one like the halo. This image strongly shows the characteristics of the sculpture style of the Sui period and stands out among small guilt bronze images of Buddha of ancient times.
While some rust and dirt can be found on this image, probably due to being buried in the ground, the brilliant gold coating still remains on the entire surface of the image. Although the central image of the trinity has been lost, Kannon Bodhisattva, the counterpart of this image, is possessed by the MOA Museum of Art. These two beautiful images suggest that the original trinity was of outstanding quality.