Important Cultural PropertyTathāgata (Jp Nyorai)

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  • 1 statue
  • Cast bronze, gold-plated
  • H30.8
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-145

This statue is very similar in shape to the central image of the Shaka Trinity in the Kondo of Horyu-ji Temple, made by Tori Busshi, a famed bronze sculptor of the period, in Suiko 31 (623). The style of wearing Daie (a formal robe), in which one end of the Daie is draped below the left forearm seen from the front while it is draped over the left shoulder seen from the rear, is also the same as that of the central image of the Shaka Trinity. However, the expression of this statue is gentler than the image seen at Kondo and an extremely elaborate design is executed on its spiral hair and the style of drapery (Emon) of the hanging skirt.
As the casting of its upper body including the parts from both wrists to the fingers was a failure, it was recast. While this statue is hollowed out up to the top of its head, the bronze thickness is not uniform. In particular, the backside of the upper body, which was recast, is significantly thin and the part below the tenon for the halo at the back of its head and the part below its right shoulder at the back of its body are reinforced by metal inlay. Clay from the inner mold remains inside the Nikkei (lump on the head) and traces of the iron core having been pulled can be seen there. Although the Nikkei was recast, it is not so porous on the whole. Plating remains in every place other than its hair, but not much coloring remains. Only vermilion (or Indian red) over the section from the legs inside the statue to the backside of the hanging skirt and a slight mark of pigment (perhaps black ink) on both the irises can be found.
Although the upper body was recast and reinforced by metal inlay as its casting was a failure, the statue was finished with no problems in its appearance. The same is true of the standing statue of Bodhisattva and the statue of N-155 in Horyu-ji Temple, all of which seems to prove the excellence of the technique of the sculptors in or derived from the Tori School.