Important Cultural PropertyAvalokitesvara (Kannon Bosatsu)

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  • 1 statue
  • Cast bronze, gold-plated
  • Statue H26.4
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-174

This image displays the characteristics of the Buddhist images that became common in the late seventh century, such as a big crown with three big upstanding ornaments decorated with a curling bracken shoot pattern, an ornament on the chest with raised beads and yoraku (threaded bead or metal decorations) and double eyelids. On the other hand, the image also retains many traditional elements, such as solemn facial features, relatively large hands compared to the body and a tenne (a long cloth), the ends of which cross like an X on the lap. Overall, it displays a well-organized, precise sculpturing style and elaborate carving techniques via chisels.
The image, including the pedestal, is created in one cast and hollowed out up to the shoulders. The topknot seems to have been split at the upper part of the string tying the topknot where the molten copper solidified and is put together with a mortise-tenon joint. The thickness of the copper at the hollowed area is rather thin and almost even on the whole. While there are small mold cavities across the board, the casting finish is good. Some of the raised beads rendered on the ornaments are engraved with a nanako chisel. Gold plating remains over almost the entire surface, including partial gold plating around the jitsuki (the point where the body of the image meets the pedestal) inside the pedestal. For coloring, lapis lazuli remains on the hair and vermillion (or Bengala) can be found on the lips and part of the petals of the flower ornaments.