Non Western

Kannon – Divine Compassion: Early Buddhist Art from Japan

196 pages, hardback, 310 x 230 mm, 85 colour illustrations
PRICE: £25.00
ISBN: 978 3 907077 30 6

 


Edited by Katharina Epprecht

Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, is probably Japan’s most popular Buddhist deity. (His popularity is even reflected in the brand name of the famous ‘Cannon’ camera.) Images of Kannon – who hears the cries for help of all beings in distress – are the main focus of worship in many Japanese temples. This exhibition catalogue presents an exceptional selection of the most beautiful sculptures and paintings from the 7th to the 14th century, some of which have never been seen before outside Japan or which are rarely accessible even to the Japanese public.

Kannon represents the ideal of a bodhisattva (Bosatsu in Japanese). Bodhisattvas are beings who have already reached the highest stage on the path to enlightenment. Having vowed to help all other beings on their quest for truth, they will remain in the world of suffering until all are saved. Kannon Bosatsu, the embodiment of divine compassion, takes on many different forms in order to provide assistance. Thus he may sometimes appear with eleven heads, at other times with a thousand arms, or in a pose of pure contemplation. Throughout history, the great spiritual power of this deity has continued to inspire remarkable artistic creations, from finely modelled bronzes to life-sized wooden sculptures or elaborate paintings on silk. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s black-and-white photographs of the thousand-armed Kannon sculptures in the famous Sanjusangen-Hall in Kyoto complement these traditional works of art.


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