Shō Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion


Not on view

In the 1100s, the powerful Fujiwara family commissioned one thousand sculptures of Shō Kannon, the primary incarnation of the compassionate Buddhist deity Kannon and a rescuer of suffering souls. Traces of color and gold on this example, which once held a lotus bud in its left hand, hint at the resplendence of the original sculptural tableau. The Fujiwara commissioned the sculptures for Kōfukuji, a Buddhist temple in the ancient capital of Nara that they had patronized for more than five hundred years. The sculptures were dispersed in the nineteenth century and are now held in collections worldwide.

Shō Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Wood with traces of gold and color, Japan

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