For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Hand of a Colossal Amida Buddha (Kamakura period 1185-1333) by Attributed to Kaikei.
About the Work
Title : Hand of a Colossal Amida Buddha
Artist : Attributed to Kaikei
Year : Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Medium : Wood with traces of lacquer, polychromy, and gilding
Dimensions : L. 66.7 cm (26 1/4 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
As is common with most organised religious and spiritual paths, Buddhism too has its unique artistic vocabulary. Buddhism is based on the spiritual teachings of Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama. Buddha preached peace and adopting the spiritual path, emphasising the impermanence of life and life situations.
Buddhist art motifs include depictions of the enlightened Buddha himself. The piece shown here, attributed to Kaikei, is believed to have been taken from the idol of the Amida triad that was in the Temple in Shin-Daibutsu-ji, Iga.
Hand of a Colossal Amida Buddha is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 2740. It is part of the museum’s collection of The Efflorescence of East Asian and Buddhist Art – Buddhist Art. This work has been housed at the Fogg Art Museum since 1931.
To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.