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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Buddhist Sculptures Identified in Japan

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

KYOTO, JAPAN—According to a report in The Asahi Shimbun, three statues from the Monmyoji Temple have been attributed to a thirteenth-century sculptor named Gyokai, based upon signatures found for the first time on the wooden bases of two of the carvings. Together, the three carvings represent the Buddha and two attendants, and are known as Amida Sanzonzo. The third statue resembles the other two in style and is also thought to have been carved by Gyokai, even though it was not signed. Takeshi Asanuma of the Kyoto National Museum said the carvings, the largest of which stands almost three feet tall, were likely created sometime between the late 1230s and the 1240s, when Gyokai was in charge of a sculptor’s studio. Only seven other works by Gyokai are known to exist. To read about another recent discovery in Japan, go to “Samurai Nest Egg.”

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