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  • Thumbnail for Byodoin, Amida Buddha, view 2
    Byodoin, Amida Buddha, view 2 by Jocho (Joochoo)

    Again, the Amida figure in the Hoodo, Byodoin, as seen at eye level. This image shows some of the apsara figures, high relief wood carvings, that are on the walls above and around the Amida figure. Also, in the lower left, the altar in front ot the Amida, with its symbolic offerings to the Buddha.

  • Thumbnail for Byodoin, Amida Buddha, view 1
    Byodoin, Amida Buddha, view 1 by Jocho (Joochoo)

    The Amida figure in the Hoodo, the so-called Phoenix Hall, at Byodoin was created by the master sculptor, Jocho. Expressive of the spirit ofthe Pure Land sect and the spirit of its time, it is quiet, meditative, approachable sculpture, just as the Hoodo, itself, is approachable because it was built on a human scale. -- The sculpture is carved wood with gold leaf. It was carved from several blocks of wood joined together, a revolutionary and very important technique developed by Jocho and his studio. -- Behind the figure of the contemplative Amida is a large, flowing aureole, flame-like, with apsaras floating on clouds. Overhead is an elaborate canopy of carved lattice work. -- The dimensions of the hall containing the figure are relatively small, which brings the viewer into close proximity with the Amida sculpture, engendering a sense of an intimate environment, rather than a sense of the deity figure being far removed from us and our aspirations. -- Note that this image of the Byodoin Amida (and view 2, as well) were photographed at eye level, as one experiences them in the Phoenix Hall. Many art history texts present an image from an excellent but different point of view, that of being several feet above the floor on a ladder or platform, which is not how the Amida would be seen by a worshipper.