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Standing Amitābha Buddha (mokuzō Amida Nyorai ryūzō)

Artist Culture
Kamakura period, 1185–1333
mid-13th century
Wood with gold pigment, lacquer, gilding, and crystal insets
Made in
Japan, Asia
Sculpture, wood
Current Location
On View, Gallery 226
with pedestal: 44 3/8 x 20 x 20 in. (112.7 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
This figure of Amitabha, the Buddha of Boundless Light, is sculpted from fine woods and overlaid with layers of lacquer and gold. Beautifully inset eyes of crystal enliven its serene face and give the deity a sense of gentle warmth and compassion. Amitabha is the ruler of the Western Paradise, a land of bliss where all mortals may be reborn if they pray to him. Images of deities were created in a more sympathetic human form at this time in Japan, encouraging worship. Here, for example, the deity's hands are carved in delicate gestures to sooth and beckon the faithful, especially the dying, who held multicolored silken cords tied from the sculpture to their fingers so that Amitabha could personally lead them into paradise.
- 1963
Dr. Okabe Yôitsu, Tokyo, Japan [1]

1963 - 1966
N. V. Hammer, Inc. [Nathan Vadim Hammer (1917–1980)], New York, NY, USA, purchased from Dr. Okabe Yôitsu [2]

1966 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from N. V. Hammer, Inc. [3]

[1] The Museum's accession record states that the object was formerly in the collection of Dr. Okabe [SLAM document files].

[2] By May 1963, this object was already in the possession of Nathan V. Hammer, as indicated in the credit line for the loan of the object to a special exhibition held at the Asia Society, New York, between May 7 and June 30, 1963 [see Benjamin Rowland, Jr., The Evolution of the Buddha Image (New York: The Asia Society, Inc., 1963), p. 122, cat. no. 64 (halftone illustration), and p. 145, cat. no. 64 (descriptive notes)].

[3] Invoice from N. V. Hammer, Inc. dated May 12, 1966 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control and Associate Members of the Board of Control of the City Art Museum, May 19, 1966.
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