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Standing Nikko-bosatsu (Sunlight Bodhisattva)
Important Cultural Property

Japan, 13th century
Figure H.63.7 cm
Hinoki wood with lacquer

This standing figure of Nikko Bosatsu combines both tension and elegance in a soft, feminine figure. Originally paired with a figure of Gekko Bosatsu (Moonlight Bodhisattva) as supporting dieties of a Yakushi Nyorai (Healing Buddha) figure, this sculpture is the only remaining of the two. Bearing a lotus bud in both hands and standing on a lotus pedestal, the weight of the figure appears to rest on the left foot, giving the feeling that it is about to step out with the right. This creates a sense of movement and lightness within the otherwise sedate pose. The sculpture is considered to have been made in the middle part of the Kamakura period, when there was a strong tendency toward naturalism, as seen in the hair, face clothing, and body expression of this work. The entire surface has been covered with lacquer, and on the areas of the garment are found patterns in cut gold leaf (J.,kirigane). These patterns survive only faintly, but still give a hint of the gorgeous coloring the piece undoubtedly had when it was made.

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