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  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    This is an infrared photo of the tall Kannon image of the main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon face
    Hasedera - Kannon face

    Close-up of Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Hasedera - Kannon statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Grave marker of mother
    Grave marker of mother

    Some of the grave stones surrounding Okunoin seem to depict either actual people or at least their idealized forms as ordinary social beings. Here we see a mother with children.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo among the trees
    Jizo among the trees

    A standing statue of Jizo, who may not be as tall as the trees but he is ever so graceful.

  • Thumbnail for View of the bathing statues from the Tamagawa bridge
  • Thumbnail for Mound of Buddhas
    Mound of Buddhas

    This is the same mound in other photos viewed here from a distance.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo statues
    Jizo statues

    Just two of thousands of these little statues along the path to Okunoin.

  • Thumbnail for Jizo statues in Okunoin
  • Thumbnail for Jizo statues
  • Thumbnail for Jizo
  • Thumbnail for Great Buddha statue at Kamakura
    Great Buddha statue at Kamakura

    The Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kamakura, a representation of Amida Buddha, was cast in 1252. The wooden building that surrounded it was swept away by a tidal wave, but the figure of the Buddha was unharmed and it has withstood repeated earthquakes, fires, and other calamities. It is 13.5 m (about 44 feet) high, making it the second largest statue of the Buddha in Japan, after the Daibutsu of Todaiji, Nara. Built without imperial or shogunal support, completed entirely with donations from the faithful, it is all the more impressive in its heroic scale.

  • Thumbnail for Great Buddha sculpture at Kamakura, interior view
    Great Buddha sculpture at Kamakura, interior view

    This rather unusual image is a view of the inside of the sculpture of the Great Buddha at Kamakura, taken half way up the stairs inside the figure, looking up into the head of the figure. The dark circles visible inside the head are the coils of hair of the figure. -- Aside from the remarkable scale of the sculpture, which one senses powerfully as one climbs the stairs inside of the sculpture, the striking feature of this photograph is probably the illustration of the manner in which the sculpture was made, fabricated. It appears that it was cast in sections or plates, which were then assembled to create the finished sculpture (look at the outside of the sculpture in the image, ecasia000062). Also of very particular interest here are "brown" elements on the neck and upper torso of the figure. During the great Tokyo earthquake, the head of the sculpture separated from the rest of the figure and ended up in the lap of the figure. It was mounted back in position but, by the late 1940's or early 1950's, stress cracks had begun to appear in the neck. The brown elements visible here are strips of an early plastic compound that were places on the interior of the neck at that time to attempt to reinforce the structure; there was some doubt that the plastic would prove adequate or that it would retain its strength but, obviously, it has served well. (information re: the reinforcement, thanks to Tokyo metalsmith and sculptor, Kosugi Takuya, former metals professor at the National University for the Arts in Tokyo)

  • Thumbnail for Muroji, 010,  kondo, central altar sculpture, Standing Shaka
    Muroji, 010, kondo, central altar sculpture, Standing Shaka

    The interior of the kondo, the Golden Hall, at Muroji includes a central area surrounded all around by a corridor. The central area, called the moya, contains an altar with five standing statues. In front of the altar figures are smaller carvings of the twelve generals, attendants of the Yakushi Buddha. The statue shown in this image is the central figure on the altar and represents the Shaka or the Yakushi Buddha. The figure, a large wooden sculpture (perhaps 7 1/2 feet tal), l is an outstanding example of early Heian sculpture, from the mid-ninth century, with traits such as the fullness of the cheeks, the separate coils of the curls in the hair, the sharp division of chest and abdomen, the use of many repeated parallel folds in the carving of the robe, and the overall solemnity of expression. Also noteworthy here is the painted aureole behind the Shaka, which is well preserved and presents images of the seven Buddhas of the past and present world cycles.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 008, detail dragon pillar - Forbidden City, Beijing
    Thorp Collection 008, detail dragon pillar - Forbidden City, Beijing

    Detail dragon pillar, Forbidden City, Beijing. This image and all others identified as ecasia000072 through ecasia000278, are scans of images from the James Thorp Collection, Earlham College. An explanation and description of the collection and its origin are included in the description of image I.D. ecasia000072, the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • 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 PORTRAIT OF NGAWANG LOBSANG GYATSO, THE FIFTH DALAI LAMA (1617-1682)
    PORTRAIT OF NGAWANG LOBSANG GYATSO, THE FIFTH DALAI LAMA (1617-1682)

    Information provided by the museum label states, "In Tibet, the religious teacher (lama or guru) has a special significance. The great Fifth Dalai Lama, sitting in a classic pose of meditation, is honored in this three-dimensional portrait. He is an important figure in Tibetan history because of the key role he played in consolidating spiritual and political rule in the country during the 17th century. He is famous for building the Potala Palace, which towers over the capital city of Lhasa, and for establishing close diplomatic relations with the Manchu court of China. During his lifetime, he was publicly recognized as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.†-- Gilt bronze -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1996.31)

  • Thumbnail for Buddha seated in teaching pose
    Buddha seated in teaching pose

    Seated in a throne-like setting, the Buddha is depicted with his hands in the teaching pose. His feet rest on a lotus, symbol of enlightenment, and supernatural beings are carved around him, ostensibly also attending to his teachings. The throne was constructed in the shape of a stupa within the cave, with ample room around it for monks and pilgrims to circumambulate the image.

  • Thumbnail for Auspicious figures on cave doorway, woman in Tribunga pose under tree
    Auspicious figures on cave doorway, woman in Tribunga pose under tree

    This female yakshi represents the auspicious fertility of the earth as she stands under the canopy of a fruit-laden tree, possibly mango. Auspicious symbols surround the entranceways to the caves, making these caves also auspcious places to dwell.

  • Thumbnail for Parinirvana of the Buddha, cave 26
    Parinirvana of the Buddha, cave 26

    This carving of the parinirvana of the Buddha Sakyamuni includes figures of monks receiving teaching from the Buddha, emphasizing the importance of the Buddha as a teacher even as he was dying. Cave 26.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, Shiva and Parvati on Mt. Kailash, close-up
    Ellora Hindu Caves, Shiva and Parvati on Mt. Kailash, close-up

    Alternately quarrelling and reconciling, the couple, Shiva and Parvati, sit close together here while the demon Ravana shakes their abode from below. Shiva has placed one hand on Parvati's breast while she is resting her hand on his leg.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Ardhanarishvara
    Kailash Cave Temple, Ardhanarishvara

    Ardhanarishvara, the Lord who is Half Woman, has been carved into one of the many niches on the outside of the temple. The sculptors depicted many of the well-known stories of Hindu gods and goddesses on the walls of the temple. Pilgrims walking past these depictions are reminded of the tales and their teachings.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall entranceway, amorous couples detail
    Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall entranceway, amorous couples detail

    From the top of the entranceway, this is a close up of the amorous couples with children inside the repeated niches.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga
    Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga

    Mata Ganga stands in this shrine niche on top of her vahana, the makara. A representation of the River Ganga, she stands next to two other river goddesses, Yamuna and Saraswati.

  • Thumbnail for Jade Flower Vase
    Jade Flower Vase

    A fish-shaped, carved white jade vase with dark edging and detail.