Antique Carved Amitabha Figurine
A rare hand carved Cypress Shrine Deity figure of Amitabha Buddha also referred to as Amida in Japanese is carved from cypress wood in a single block technique (ichiboku-zukuri). Amitabha has a serene expression and closed eyes under delicately arched brows. Coils of hair cover the head and the “ushnisha” which is the protuberance on the head of the Buddha. Standing on a base of lotus flowers Amitabha’s drapery is folded in elegant pleats falling from the shoulders to feet.
His left hand holds a light eluminating and wish-granting jewel (hōju no tama) and signifies the bestowal of blessings.
Approximate dimensions are Weight 130 Grams Height 32 cm Width 6.5 cm Depth 4 cm.
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Amida Buddha had a small following until the Kamakura Era (1185-1333). The following was popularised in the Kamakura Era and saw strong growth of Pure Land followers. Devotees committed to growing Buddhism in Japan took their message out to the masses. These sects expressed concern for the salvation of the ordinary person and stressed pure and simple faith over complicated rites and doctrines. Amida Nyorai presides over the Great Western Paradise. The faithful believe that Amida descends from Paradise to lead them back to the Pure Land. This sculpture’s hands gesture (mudra) symbolizes Amida welcoming the spirits of dead devotees. He holds the hoju no tama to light their way and grant their wishes.