Edo Period. Circa: 19th century or earlier
H 9 in.(23cm), W 3.5 in.(9cm), D 2.25 in.(5.5cm)
Zushi: H. 11 inches (28cm)
Aged minor abrasionss, good condition!
in a lacquered zushi, this small but spirited statue is a rare representation
of En no Gyoja, the legendary founder of Shugendo Sect in the early 8th century,
and later granted the honorary title: Shinben Dai Bosatsu by Emperor Kokaku in
the 18th century. En no Gyoja is believed to have lived an itinerant life in the
mountains, he is regarded as a patron saint for those who practiced spiritual
devotion in a secular life. This characteristic sculpture shows him as a bearded
ascetic, holding a scepter and sutra scroll in hands, bare feet, wearing a hooded
monk robe with a cloak of leaves. The image is realistic and serene, with emphasis
on the sage's wizened body. Meticulously painted over a lacquered wood surface;
which mellowed through ages with added enchantment.