An image of Amida Buddha

Pure Land sect

(Japan  – )

Amida Buddha

Other titles:
Seated image of Amida Buddha
Location
Not on display
Further information

This classic image of the Amida Buddha echoes the qualities of formality and spiritual serenity so characteristic of the Buddhist art of Japan. The personification of eternal life, compassion and boundless light, Amida is the Buddha who reigns over the Western Paradise. He is the central deity of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism that had its foundations in the teachings of the fourth-century Chinese monk Hui Yuan, and grew to become the most popular sect of the faith in East Asia. Central to its teachings is the doctrine that for rebirth in the Pure Land nothing more than the constant invocation of the name of Amida is required. In Japan, under the inspiration of the Heian period monk Genshin (942-1017), the sect gained immense influence: not only through its promise of a passage to the Paradise, but also through Genshin's colourful descriptions of the Western Paradise and the beguiling imagery and art they stimulated. Carved from a hard, dense nutmeg wood - with that inherent feeling for the qualities of the material for which the Japanese artist and craftsman are so admired - the image conveys the peace, harmony and spiritual certainty that is the promise of the Western Paradise of Amida.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 268.

Place of origin
Japan
Period
Japan: Heian period 794–1185
Year
11th century-12th century
Media
Sculpture
Medium
nutmeg wood with black lacquer and some gilding
Dimensions
96.8 cm :
a - figure; 53.5 x 40 cm
b - stand; 57 x 50 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased with assistance from W.H. Nolan Bequest Fund 1984
Accession number
119.1984.a-b