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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 statue
    Hasedera - Kannon statue

    Infrared photo of Kannon image in main hall.

  • Thumbnail for Various Jizo statues beside tree on Okunoin path
  • Thumbnail for Another Jizo
  • 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 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 (Daibutsu)  at Kamakura
    Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kamakura

    The great statue of the Amida Buddha at Kamakura, cast in 1252. This image gives a good sense of the physical context in which one sees the sculpture today.

  • Thumbnail for Thorp Collection 021, Er Wang, Sichuan (Statue in memory of the son of Li-Ping)
    Thorp Collection 021, Er Wang, Sichuan (Statue in memory of the son of Li-Ping)

    Er Wang, Sichuan. (Statue in memory of the son of Li-Ping). 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 Thorp Collection 136, Buddha-Loyang.
    Thorp Collection 136, Buddha-Loyang.

    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, "Altar of Heaven at night, Beijing," 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 Thorp Collection 182, Chitien Buddha Kunming, Yunnan.
    Thorp Collection 182, Chitien Buddha Kunming, Yunnan.

    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, "Altar of Heaven at night, Beijing," the first Thorp image presented in this project collection.

  • Thumbnail for Hiroshima, Bell at Children's Memorial
    Hiroshima, Bell at Children's Memorial

    The bell inside a sculpture dedicated to the children who suffered from the atomic bombing at Hiroshima. On the pulley of the bell hangs a golden crane, modeled after one made from origami (paper-folding).

  • Thumbnail for Boar (Varaha) Incarnation of Vishnu
    Boar (Varaha) Incarnation of Vishnu

    As described on the museum label, "According to Hindu mythology, the earth began to sink under the burden of evil or overpopulation, and Vishnu, assuming the form of a boar (Varaha), recovered her from the ocean. This work represents the moment when Varaha (usually depicted as an anthropomorphic figure with a boar's head) has rescued the earth, personified as a beautiful woman perched demurely on his bent left elbow. She lays her right hand gently on his snout both for support and as a token of gratitude. The serpents (nagas) below vishnu's left foot symbolize water." -- Red sandstone -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf, 1997.707)

  • Thumbnail for Harihara
    Harihara

    The museum label states: "This sculpture from a temple niche represents Harihara, a figure combining Shiva (right half) and Vishnu (left half). Shiva has a crown of matted locks and holds a trident as his emblem of power. His bull, Nandi (missing its head), stands at his side. Vishnu's crown is miterlike, and he holds the conch and discus. The pairing of these two deities and their symbols represents the paradox of simultaneous destruction and creation in nature." -- India, Madhya Pradesh -- Red Sandstone -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (Lent by the Pritzker Fmily, 516.1983)

  • Thumbnail for Buddha in lotus position behind doorway with pillars
    Buddha in lotus position behind doorway with pillars

    In a cave within a cave, the Buddha sits on a pedastal behind a doorway carved with buddhas and bodhisattvas in various poses. Two deer lie below him on the pedastal and the entranceway pillars are carved to create the royal setting of a palace.

  • 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 Parinirvana of the Buddha, cave 26 (close up)
    Parinirvana of the Buddha, cave 26 (close up)

    A close up of the head of the Buddha at his parinirvana, reclining peacefully on an ornate pillow, with his face toward his disciples and followers.

  • Thumbnail for Buddha in lotus position, detail of lay devotees carrying offerings
    Buddha in lotus position, detail of lay devotees carrying offerings

    At the base of a buddha figure, lay devotees, men and women, carry offerings, possibly to celebrate the end of the rainy season retreat. The hair of the laypeople is emphasized in these figures perhaps as a contrast to the shaved heads of the monks and nuns.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, ascetic figure on roof
    Ellora, Datta Temple, ascetic figure on roof

    An ascetic figure sits atop the roof of the temple, clothed in the saffron robes that indicate his commitment to live as a brahmacarin and carrying the walking stick necessary for his life as wanderer. The sunglasses indicate that this figure was probably meant to represent a contemporary guru respected by the lineage of ascetics associated with this temple.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, painted Shiva Nataraj
    Kailash Cave Temple, painted Shiva Nataraj

    A brightly painted image on an inside pillar in the area outside the inner sanctum presents a lively image of the dancing Shiva Nataraj. In some parts of the temple, the ancient pigments seem to have been preserved, probably due to their placement in areas protected from the elements.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, inner sanctum doorway
    Kailash Cave Temple, inner sanctum doorway

    This doorway leads into a small shrine room with a lingam carved in a yoni, symbol of the union of Shiva and Shakti, the divine male and female. The light of the candle, the only illumination in this inner shrine room, is visible through the doorway.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Kamadeva and Rati with Apsaras and Gandharvas
    Kailash Cave Temple, Kamadeva and Rati with Apsaras and Gandharvas

    God of desire, Kamadeva, and his consort Rati are flanked by their assistants, a sensuous apsaras or heavenly nymph and gandharvas who are charming celestial musicians.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, silver makara
    Ellora, Datta Temple, silver makara

    On a pillar of the temple is this gray makara, a mythical aquatic beast associated with the Ganges gharial, a species of crocodile. The makara is associated with Kamadeva, god of desire, as well as the goddess Ganga and the Vedic god of the sea, Varuna.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 3
    Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 3

    Auspicious figures of amorous couples in small stone niches adorn the magnificent Kailash Cave Temple, cave #16 in the series of Ellora Caves. These figures represent fertility and good fortune for all who see them.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 2
    Kailash Cave Temple, amorous couple 2

    Auspicious figures of amorous couples in small stone niches adorn the magnificent Kailash Cave Temple, cave #16 in the series of Ellora Caves. These figures represent fertility and good fortune for all who see them.