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Title: Standing Amitâbha Buddha (mokuzô Amida Nyorai ryûzô)
Date: mid-13th century
Culture: Japanese
Period: Kamakura period
(1185–1333)
Medium: wood with gold pigment, lacquer, gilding, and crystal insets
Dimensions:
with pedestal: 44 3/8 x 20 x 20 in. (112.7 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object Number: 132:1966
Place made: Japan
Current Location: On View, Gallery 226
Notes:
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.
Signed: unsigned
Provenance
- 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]


Notes:
[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.

Exhibition History
Title: Reflections of the Buddha
Date: September 9, 2011 – March 10, 2012
Venue: Pulitzer Arts Foundation
Title: The Evolution of the Buddha Image
Date: May 7 – June 30, 1963
Venue: Asia Society
Title: Treasures from the East: Asian Art from the Collection
Date: September 25–November 14, 1982
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Masterworks in Wood: Japan and China
Date: November 2, 1976 – March 20, 1977
Venue: Asia House
Venue: Portland Art Museum
Publication History
Title: The Saint Louis Art Museum Handbook of the Collections
Editor: Mary Ann Steiner
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Among Recent Acquisitions
Periodical Title: Bulletin of the City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Art of Asia Recently Acquired by American Museums, 1966
Periodical Title: Archives of Asian Art
Edition: 1967–1968
Year Published: 1967
Title: Recent Museum Acquisitions: Far Eastern Sculpture (City Art Museum, St Louis)
Periodical Title: The Burlington Magazine
Author: The Burlington Magazine
Title: The St. Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collections
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Pulitzer Foundation Workshop
Periodical Title: Archives of Asian Art
Author: Stanley K. Abe
Title: See for Yourself: Highlights of the Collection
Periodical Title: A Gallery Guide for The Saint Louis Art Museum
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Saint Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collection
Editor: Mary Ann Steiner
Publisher: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Reflections of the Buddha
Author: Francesca Herndon-Consagra
Publisher: Pulitzer Arts Foundation
Title: The Evolution of the Buddha Image
Author: Benjamin Rowland Jr.
Publisher: Asia Society
Title: Masterworks in Wood: China and Japan
Year Published: 1976
Title: Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections
Year Published: 1980
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