Altar Cabinet (Zushi) for Fudō Myōō

Unidentified artist

Not on view

Statues of the Buddhist protective deity Fudō Myōō, the “immovable wisdom king,” are a familiar sight at temples in Japan. In contrast to meticulously carved works by professionals, this type of roughly hewn sculpture is the creation of an amateur monk-sculptor, Mokujiki, who was motivated by religious enthusiasm to make thousands of sculptures of Buddhist deities and popular gods of good fortune. His sculptures were rediscovered in the early twentieth century by art critic Yanagi Sōetsu (1889–1961), an advocate of the of Mingei, or “people’s art.” Yanagi admired the direct, unaffected power of Mokujiki’s sculpture, which he saw as representing the ideal of an indigenous, popular Japanese art. While Mokujiki’s technique is referred to as natabori (“hatchet-carved”), the artist actually used round-headed chisels.

Altar Cabinet (Zushi) for Fudō Myōō, Unidentified artist, Wood, Japan

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.