VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Amida Nyorai (Buddha Amitâbha)
AK-MAK-294
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The Buddha Amida is seated with legs crossed, his eyes half-closed in meditation. He makes a dignified, serene impression. His simple monastic robe falls in regular, flat folds. The surface is barely embellished: the drapery is indicated with economical lines and such details as the eyes and hands are elegantly styled. The serenity Amida exudes is characteristic of Japanese Buddha figures from the eleventh century onward. Other typical Japanese features are the wide ushnisha (cranial protrusion) and the semi-precious stone set among the curly hair. In this period, Japanese art shook off the influence of China and Korea.

History of the Object
The figure probably once stood in a Buddhist temple, set on a lotus throne. It would have been one of the most important religious symbols in that temple, and would have been surrounded by other figures and paintings. The figure has not been carved from a single block of wood, but is made up of several parts and is hollow. Employing this Japanese technique enabled lighter figures to be produced; moreover, the wood was less likely to split. It also increased the rate of production, since more than one person could work on the same figure at any one time. The figure was previously covered in a layer of lacquer on textile, and was gilded; occasional traces of the gilding are still visible.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Wood with traces of lacquer, gold, linen and crystal 
Measurements
h. 87 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 12th century ~ AD 12th century 
Creation date
12th Century; Mid-12th C. 
Function
In Japan in the 11th century, the cult of Amida, known as Amidism, became popular. The worship of Amida attracted large numbers because it made salvation attainable. True faith in Amida and the repeated calling of his name was sufficient for believers to be reborn after death in Amida's paradise. Amida was a popular Buddha in Japan. 
Acquisition
Purchased in 1960 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Vereniging van Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst. Long term loan Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (1972) 
Museum
Rijksmuseum 
Credit line
 

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