Important Cultural PropertyTathāgata (Jp Nyorai)

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  • 1 statue
  • Cast bronze, gold-plated
  • H17.2 
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-147

Its rather narrow face with a smile is of an ancient style, but its design is natural as its hands and fingers show a tender movement and the lines of Emon (the style of drapery) are drawn in graceful curves. A Daie (formal robe) is slightly draped over its right shoulder, flowing from the underside of its right elbow to its left forearm. The inner robe Naie is worn on its right forearm like a large sleeve. This dressing style is the same as that of the wooden statue of seated Yakushi Nyorai (Buddha of Medicine) in Horin-ji Temple in Nara. Its face is an ancient style with double eyelids and is also common to the Yakushi Nyorai statue. The Hansai-kuyomon (halved pattern of nine luminaries: it seems to indicate Shokko-nishiki, Chinese brocade with a geometric pattern consisting of squares and octagons) arranged on the Sougishi (a robe worn under the outer Kesa robe) is generally seen in the work in the latter half of the seventh century such as statues of boy attendants to Buddhist deities and thus this statue is believed to have been created at about that time.
This statue was created in one cast including its body and hanging skirt and is hollowed out up to the lower part of its neck. The bronze thickness is relatively thick and is almost uniform on the whole. The casting of this statue is good as there are not very many pores. Metal inlay is applied to part of the left side of its left shoulder. Its Rohatsu (spiral shaped curls of hair) was created by cutting this part into squares and then dotting it using a Nanakotagane (an indented burin for beating out a fish-roe pattern). A Nanakotagane was used also for the hem of the Sougishi and the pearl pattern in the motif of Hansai-kuyomon. Plating remains ovslmost the entire surface except for its hair. Coloring is found on its hair and lips, which were painted in ultramarine and vermilion (or Indian red), respectively. Drawing in black ink can be found on its eyebrows, mustache and beard. The inner surface of the statue is painted with red lead except for the part between the lower neck and the breast (ground of terra alba is seen in some parts).