Met curator Sinéad Vilbar on inner conflict in Fudō Myōō (Achala-vidyaraja) dating from Japan’s Heian period, 12th century.
Fudō Myōō is the most widely represented of the Buddhist deities known as Myōō, or Kings of Brightness. A fierce protector of the Buddhist Law, he is a direct emanation of the Buddha Dainichi Nyorai, the principal Buddha of Esoteric Buddhism. The first sculptures of Fudō made in Japan were seated, but standing sculptures like this one were carved beginning in the eleventh century. Fudō uses his sword to cut through ignorance and his lasso to reign in those who would block the path to enlightenment. The heavy weight of the shoulders and back is planted firmly on the stiffened legs, appropriate for a deity whose name means the “Immovable.”
Images of Fudō are often housed in temple halls called Gomadō where a fire-burning ritual called the goma-e is performed. The ritual involves the burning of incense and other possessions to symbolically destroy defilements. This statue, originally composed of six hollowed-out pieces of wood, was formerly the central icon of the Kuhonji Gomadō in Funasaka, twenty miles northwest of Kyoto. The hall has not survived. Fudō would once have had a mandorla carved in the shape of wild flames and inserted behind him into the rock upon which he stands.
View this work on metmuseum.org.Created by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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- When was this statue created?(6 votes)
- This Fudō Myōō dates to the 12th century. You can find more information by following the link below the video: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/44842(8 votes)
- Why does Fudo Myoo have holes where an earring would be?(3 votes)
- Perhaps the earrings were stolen, especially if they were made of precious materials that could be melted down or reused.(3 votes)
- I have only really heard of Buddhism in relation to India, China or south-east Asia, was it big in Japan, and if so is it still?(2 votes)
- Yes, and yes. It replaced Shintoism as the main religion, and now the majority of the Japanese population is Buddhist.(4 votes)
- Was this believed to be the only one of its kind?(1 vote)
- So was this made in honor of a real warrior?(1 vote)
- How can a museum get all the ancient artifact in china.(1 vote)
- From the author:First, this sculpture is from Japan, not China. It was donated/sold in 1975 to the museum by a collector who purchased it in Japan.(2 votes)
- Fudo Myoo and the Buddha statues all have similar ears; they are long and have these holes that look like those ear gadges. What does that mean?(1 vote)
- Where was this statue found??(1 vote)