Important Cultural PropertyBodhisattva sitting with his legs half-crossed

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  • 1 statue
  • Cast bronze, gold-plated
  • Statue H38.0
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-155

This is a seated image of Bodhisattva in the Tori style similar to the sculpturing style of the standing image of Bodhisattva of Horyuji Temple, except for the eyes that are represented not in the shape of amygdule, but in a slanting gyogetsu (a crescent moon) shape. Moreover, this image, different from an ordinary seated pensive pose (hankashiyui), has its right hand facing front instead of on its cheek, which corresponds to the iconography of the principal image of Kuze Kannon of Shitennoji Temple described in Besson Zakki.
The entire image, including the pedestal, is created all in one cast and hollowed out up to the head. A big fin inside the neck separates the head from the body. The thickness of the copper in the body and pedestal slightly differs from that in the head. While it is thin and even in the body and pedestal, it is not even in the head. It is thin from the forehead to the eyes and thick from the mouth to the jaw. It seems that this unevenness was caused by a process where melted copper entered into the head from a crack in the inner clay mold in the neck, separating the inner clay mold into the head and body at the neck and causing the head to move upward. There is an iron core remaining in the right-front side of the fin in the neck. In the upper part of the back of the image, a square katamochi (a metal piece inserted between the outer and inner molds) is inserted. While there are many mold cavities in the shoulders and the head, the body below the shoulders has few cavities, demonstrating a fine casting finish. Although there are no sculptural defects, many repairs have been made with inlay on the top of the head, the crown, the neck, the abdomen and the knees. Gold plating remains over almost the entire surface except the inside of the crown and the back of the head. For coloring, lapis lazuli remains on the hair, vermillion (or Bengala) remains on the crown, the shoulders, the back of the flame-shaped sacred gem and the lips and the black sumi used for the outlines of the eyebrows, the eyes, the eyeballs, the mustache and the beard can still be seen.