H x Diam (overall): 11.7 x 5.2 cm (4 5/8 x 2 1/16 in)
Gift of Sylvan Barnet and William Burto in honor of Yanagi Takashi
Freer Gallery of Art
Buddhist sacred texts (sutras) record the miraculous acts of the Historical Buddha soon after his birth. The infant took seven steps and pointed to heaven and earth, declaring himself to be the lord of the cosmos and savior of all sentient beings- an event depicted by this miniature sculpture cast in bronze. It is a rare example of a gilt-bronze image produced in Buddhism s earliest phase in Japan, after its introduction from Korea in 538. This figure, standing on a base that was replaced later, closely resembles an image designated as an Important Cultural Property in the Shogenji, a Buddhist temple in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The style reflects the refined work of the Tori school of professional Buddhist sculptors who produced a bronze image of the Historical Buddha and two attendant bodhisattvas (enlightened beings), dated 623, for the Horyuji in Nara.