Important Cultural PropertyTathāgata (Jp Nyorai)

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  • 1 statue
  • Cast bronze, gold-plated
  • H23.0 
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-146

This is a statue of the Hentan-uken-i type, that is, a statue with a robe that leaves the right shoulder exposed. Its breast and belly are well-fleshed. It apparently adopts a simple style, but it has a free atmosphere on the whole and the style of its dressing, its drapery (Emon) based on parallel lines and the shape of its body, the trunk of which is rather long for the length between the knees, all indicate the influence of the Chinese Sui Dynasty and early Tang Dynasty.
This statue was, including its body and the part of the upturned lotus flowers of the pedestal, created in one cast and hollowed out up to the top of its head, with a circular hole underneath the upturned lotus flowers opened to the outside. An iron core (its cross section is square) goes through from the top of its head to the bottom of the upturned lotus flowers. The upper end of the iron core is partly exposed at the back of the upper part of the Nikkei (lump on the head) and the lower end projects a little from the circular hole underneath the upturned lotus flowers. As this hole is small at 2.3 cm in diameter, this statue was made by a casting technique similar to so-called Kurumi-nakago. Both the head and the body of the statue are not uniform in bronze thickness, which is rather thick on the whole. The surface of the inside is rough and very porous and metal inlay is found on the left part of the belly. While plating remains in places except for the hair, coloring is found only on the hair, which was painted in ultramarine and thus it is not certain what colors were painted in the other places (the irises and the lines for the upper eyelids seem to have been drawn in black ink). The four fingers of the right hand other than the thumb have been lost near the roots. The Kaeribana (a downward-facing lotus petal decoration) of the pedestal and below it were made of wood to which gold foil was applied with lacquer (Shippaku). They were replaced in the Edo period (1603 - 1868).