Sho Kannon

Nanbokucho period (1336-1392)

14th century

Cypress-wood with lacquered surface and  traces of gilding;
eyes and byakugo inlaid in crystal, gilt metal applications.
Height: 28 cm

This antique figure, carved from a single piece of wood (ichiboku zukuri), represents a standing bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Sho-Kannon in Japanese). The face contours are sharp but delicate and the elegant garment is somehow stylized on the upper part and more free and realistic on the lower one. The Kannon holds a lotus flower in the left hand and shows the right palm in the semui-in mudra, a position with the power of giving tranquillity and absence of fear. The hair is gathered high and embellished by a gilt-metal crown; the face shows a serene expression.

With a height of around thirty centimeters, this antique sculpture has the standard size of a danzo, a small Buddhist image made from fragrant and fine-grained wood, but the gilt lacquer and the eyes made of glass are quite uncommon for such sculptures, usually left with their natural surface to release the wood’s perfume.

The storage box is inscribed by Kano Tessai (1845-1925) with an attribution to Keishu dated 1918: “Keishu, grandchild of the great sculptor Tankei”. Tessai was an important Japanese sculptor and wood carver but it is unknown under which evidence he made this attribution, even though the dating is certainly correct. 

Antique Buddhist sculpture for sale


Price: 14,000 €

Inventory Nr: 834

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