Japan, Heian period / Votive Plaque (Kakebotoke) with Kannon Image / 12th centuryJapan, Heian period
Votive Plaque (Kakebotoke) with Kannon Image
12th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Dates/Places: Japan
Creator Active Place: Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Japan, Heian period
Title: Votive Plaque (Kakebotoke) with Kannon Image
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1100
Creation End Date: 1199
Creation Date: 12th century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: bronze, with applied molded image with etched designs
Dimensions: Diameter: 52.5cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1985.16
Credit Line: Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund
Rights: http://www.clemusart.com/museum/disclaim2.html
Context: The interiors of Japanese Buddhist temples focus on the religious statuary linked to the institution's principal deity or historical founder. These sculptures, usually constructed of wood and only modestly adorned, are placed in the central bay of the building within the temple compound set aside for their worship. Raised altar tables stand in front of the primary images, set with offerings of rice and fruit to the deity along with candle holders, oil lamps, and water and incense containers. In front ofthis furniture are low tables, set on the tatami mat floor, for the ritual objects used at each day's services: sutras, bells, candle holder, incense container, and metal gong. Because the bay is often deep and the sculptural image set well back into it,away from sources of natural light, the unpainted wooden columns and beams of the interior architecture reinforce an ambience of solemn dimness amid open interrelated spaces. Over the centuries various types of interior "decorations" were either adopted from Korean and Chinese prototypes or created wholly in Japan to help enliven these spaces where the faithful viewed the devotional statuary. In fact, the open structural system of beams and supports in Buddhist architecture provided ideal locations for attaching or suspending heavenly canopies, colorful textile banners, and an assortment of decorative metalwork. This paraphernalia helped illuminate the hall's interior as well as provide focus for worship. This kakebotoke was originally suspended by brightly colored cords from a wooden beam in a Buddhist worship hall of the late Heian period. It was likely placed on a beam flanking the central icon and was joined by other kakebotoke in identifying the worship bay in front of the main sculptural altar. Originally its polished bronze surface reflected the flickering light of oil and candle flames. But through the centuries of exposure to the elements and wax and oil smoke, the metal surface has acquired the rich blue-and-green patination of age and usage soadmired by the Japanese. The seated figure of the universally benevolent deity, Kannon, sits on a lotus base surrounded by a double halo with flame patterns. These elements have all been cut from a sheet of bronze and delicately hammered into shape usinga wood mold. The surface of the deity's figure and the individual lotus petals have been incised and carefully tooled to provide detailing of form and three-dimensional modeling. Small pins indicate how the image was attached to the disc of the plaque. Molded lion-head attachments provide suspension supports. In construction and style it resembles the splendid metalwork artistry of the Chuson-ji temple in northern Japan, a twelfth-century religious and artistic outpost of distinguished aristocratic patronage. M.R.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1985.16
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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