Amida Buddha at Byodo-in Temple

Amida Buddha at Byodo-in Temple
Amida Buddha at Byodo-in Temple

This Buddha sculpture was made around 1053 and is still in the Byodo-in temple in the city today Japanese name of Uji for which it was created. But that is not the only surprise that this figure offers us, since it is one of the few cases of such an old work in which we know its author, a sculptor named Jocho.


Amida Buddha in Byodo-in

In fact, there is much more information about this creation. The city of Uji is very close to the monumental and imperial city of Kyoto, where some of the most famous temples in the country are found, such as the famous Golden Pavilion. But in addition to temples, there were also palaces of the most powerful men in the empire belonging to the Fujiwara dynasty.

The thing is, some of those aristocrats also had exquisite resort villas in Uji. One of those villas was the one with Fujiwara no Yorimichi, who decided to transform it into a temple in the middle of the 11th century. In this transformation, the Amida Hall was created, where today is this sculpture of Buddha, who appears in his personification of Amida or god of immeasurable Life and Light. A deity capable of saving anyone who repeatedly says his name.

Despite the appearance it conveys at first glance, it is a work carved in wood that was later painted in gold. TheThe result is that of a radiant and enormous sculpture, as it reaches 3 meters in height.

We see a Monumental Buddha sitting on a pedestal composed of several layers of lotus flower. The representation of this flower has its logic within the iconography of Buddha Amida, since believers thought that this god would come down to collect their souls after death and transport their souls on lotus flowers to the heavenly realm.

And in addition to the figure, the gigantic halo behind it is also striking and looks like a flame that illuminates it. A halo also carved in wood, in which decorative motifs and also the figures of musicians can be distinguished. All this with a work of extreme delicacy, in the form of filigree that later receives a bath of gold leaf.

The way of carving Buddha's face is also notable for its delicacy, with a much finer finish than the rest of the work. Thanks to this finish, the contemplative and serene expression can be appreciated much better. And so the message of compassion is launched from him, which is also received directly by his faithful, since Buddha looks down, towards his devotees. A gesture that is not usual in this type of sculptures.

Popular topic