zushi features a standing Amida (Amitabha) Buddha figure in vitarka mudra, the
gesture of argument or discourse. Simple robes fall in rhythmic folds and draped
sleeves enclose the figure. The serene face of the Buddha shines forth resplendently
as he stands on an open lotus, a golden nimbus behind his head.
Buddhist traveling altars and shrines create a sacred space of spiritual magnetism
and are the product of dedicated craftsmanship. A single Buddhist altar involves
several different skilled crafts: wood carving, painting, metalworking, lacquering
and application of gold leaf; skills which were traditionally passed on from father
to son. Traveling monks were required to have their own prayer tables and other
appurtenances, and zushi were made to satisfy their needs. Such compact shrines
became quite popular with laity as well.
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