Japanese / Male Figure, Possibly Prince Shotoku / Kamakura period, early 14th centuryJapanese
Male Figure, Possibly Prince Shotoku
Kamakura period, early 14th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: Japanese
Title: Male Figure, Possibly Prince Shotoku
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1300
Creation End Date: 1333
Creation Date: Kamakura period, early 14th century
Creation Place: Japan
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Gilt Bronze
Dimensions: H. 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.203a-b
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Rights: http://www.asiasociety.org
Context: The introduction of Buddhism to Japan was one of the most important events in Japanese history and had a lasting effect on the development of its thought, art, and culture. According to Japanese sources, Buddhism was introduced from the Korean kingdom of Paekche in either 538 or 552 as part of a series of diplomatic exchanges that also led to a broader awareness of the beliefs and material culture of China and Korea. Prince Shotoku (r. 593-622), most likely represented in this small bronze sculpture, was the catalyst for many of the political, economic, and religious changes that marked Japanese history in the late 6th and early 7th centuries, and he is venerated for his commentaries on three famous sutras, his encouragement of Buddhism, and his patronage of Buddhist art and architecture. The iconography of this sculpture is difficult to ascertain, but the hairstyle, looped braids to either side of the head, and heavy outer robe and trousers--the formal clothing of the Japanese court--point to its identification as Prince Shotoku. Representations of the prince are common in Japanese art, and there is a standard iconography for different phases of his life. The court garments worn by this figure suggest that it was probably intended to represent Prince Shotoku as regent. The hands and the box they hold are modern replacements. Images of Prince Shotoku as regent generally include a scepter, and it seems likely, given the position of his hands, that this figure originally held a scepter.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 91.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.203a-b
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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