Antiques 6-14-09

The pictures are of a Kamakura period Gogo (long o) Shiyui Amida. See here or here.  There is a very good example of this type of statue housed at the Todaiji temple in Nara.

The gold leaf is applied by finger. The leaf is first cut into thin strips and then put into place using the tip of the finger. The condition is very good on this statue. The picture of the back shows a removable panel that would have contained a relic, sutra or something of that sort. These have usually been emptied.

Just to look at a little of the iconography. The hair, like Sai Baba’s, is a symbol of how long the Buddha has been meditating and the lack of concern for the material world. Meditated for 5 eons would be a rough translation of gogo shiyui. The meaning of “gogo shiyui” in Japanese is closer to limitless time. I would imagine sitting in the lotus for more than an hour qualifies as forever. During this period of meditation the Buddha’s focus was how to look out for the good of mankind. An interesting side note. When I was at the dealers looking and learning about this piece he didn’t use the terminology that is usually associated with this incarnation of Buddha. What the dealer said is the Gogo Shiyui Amida was given a problem to ponder and it took him a very long time to figure it out. That is the reason for the long hair. It may seem like a small difference but I see it as a far more personal and relate-able rendering of the story. In researching the piece in Japanese too I find the writing much more personal, less “object, observer” type of writing.  During the time he was meditating his hair grew long as it is represented in the statue.

I am unsure what the mustache means.

Million dollar Buddhas.

I went to the dealer with a friend who wanted to get some antiques looked at. The three of us walked in, my friend, my wife and I. There were two somewhat frumpy business men with a couple of printed pages in front of them, the Amida statue and the dealer. The first thing I heard was something to the tune of it won’t bring more than one million in this climate. I turned around and walked out to give them the time to negotiate in peace. After about ten minutes the men left and I left my crouching position across the narrow road from the shop, going back into the shop.  The story was the two men were representatives of a wealthy business man from Osaka who owned an Important Cultural Property Buddha statue and wanted to sell it for at least a couple of million dollars, or in Japanese suu oku en. My immediate thought was how much money does this dealer keep in reserve for these type of calls.


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One Response to “Antiques 6-14-09”

  1. Indian Handicrafts » Antiques 6-14-09 Says:

    […] here to see the original:  Antiques 6-14-09 Author: admin Categories: Antiques Tags: amassed-over, Antiques, antiques-looked, building, […]

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