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19th C. Japanese Wood Dhyana Buddha

Japan, late Edo Period, ca. 19th century CE. This is a wooden sculpture of the Amida Buddha seated with his hands in the Dhyana mudra, the gesture of meditation, also called the full lotus position. He is covered in black lacquer over a gesso base coat. He has a red jewel embedded beneath his ushnisha (the bump on top of his head that symbolizes a part of his enlightenment) and inset crystal eyes. He was made out of several blocks of wood put together. Size: 8" L x 10" W x 19" H (20.3 cm x 25.4 cm x 48.3 cm)

The Buddha figure is seated on a ca. 19th century CE wooden throne in the form of a lotus flower with a mandrala behind his head; it seems likely based on the lacquerwork that this throne was originally made for another figure, but the size suits him well. The Buddha itself comes from the Edo Period in Japan, when the country was closed to almost all foreigners and enjoyed political stability for 250 years, allowing artwork to flourish. A piece like this would have been produced by a master craftsman in a workshop and sold to the general public or put into a shrine or temple. The level of carved detail on both Buddha and base is impressive.

Condition: Although there is some wear, especially to the Buddha figure, the piece is intact. Gold shines through on the mandala.

Provenance: private Loveland, Colorado, USA collection; previously Honeychurch Antiques, Seattle, USA

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