Important Cultural PropertyAvalokitesvara (Kannon Bosatsu)

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  • 1 statue
  • Cast bronze, gold-plated
  • Statue H28.8
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-170

This image displays long old-fashioned facial features and its crown, which is not in the complete form of sanmentoshoku (a crown with three upstanding ornaments), retains the style of sanzankan (a type of crown) that is often found among images of the early seventh century. However, the double eyelid and the flowing soft rendering of the tenne (a long cloth) resemble the style of Buddhist images of the late seventh century. It can therefore be said that this image was created in a transitional period.
The image, including the pedestal with its lotus core, is created in one cast except the left hand, which is cast separately. The inside is hollowed out up to the chest. The thickness of the copper is somewhat thick and almost even across the board. Square katamochi (metal pieces inserted between the outer and inner molds) are installed in the abdomen and the lower part of the hips on the back. While there are mold cavities across the board, the casting finish is good. Although most of them are missing now, there are traces of a long cylindrical slit in the lower part of the lotus core where something like a tenon was formed in seven directions. This seems to be a mechanism to hold the pedestal down on the lower base and is a very rare treatment. Gold plating remains over almost the entire surface of the image except the reverse side of the crown and the hair. For coloring, lapis lazuli remains on the hair, vermillion (or Bengala) is found on the lips and black sumi can be found on the eyebrows, the outline of the eyes and the eyeballs. The area below the pedestal with the down-turned petals is made of wood and coated with lacquer. It was added in the Edo period.