[Single sheet woodblock printed suribotoke 摺仏 of 3 standing 11-faced Kannon 十一面観音] [Buddhist image]
[late 12th - Early 13th Century]
Single sheet woodblock printed suribotoke 摺仏 of 3 standing Kannon 観音 figures printed from a hangi 版木 woodblock. Sheet is approx 25.5 x 36.5cm and each standing figure is approx 23.2 centimeters tall. There are 3 full images with a partial image to the left. The right arm is bent upwards with the hand raised and the left hand is down with the palm facing outward. 11 small heads adorn the “crown" and there is a triple “halo” with flames around the head. The Kannon is wearing draped robes, has bare feet and is standing on a lotus platform.
The images correspond to the late Heian 平安 or the early Kamakura 鎌倉 period; the late 12th or early 13th century. The following sources establish the date as well as the place of origin of the sheet as Hōryūji Temple 法隆寺, founded by Prince Shōtoku 聖徳太子 (Shōtoku Taishi 574-627) in Nara 奈良 in the early 7th century. It is one of the original Buddhist temples of Japan and the Hōryūji complex was built, rebuilt and added to over the centuries, remaining perhaps the most amazing repository of classical Japanese culture in existence.
See figure 24 [p20] and 110 [p.70] from Nihon no Bijutsu 日本の美術 issue 7 #218 published in 1984, Showa 昭和59, which is dedicated to Buddhist art. Also see Japanese Buddhist Prints by Mosaku Ishida, Abrahms & Kodansha 1964 p. 111 and the cover images from an a brochure entitled Butsu Hanga no Sekai 仏版画の世界 from a Buddhist printing exhibition held at the Hamamatsu City Art Museum (Hamamatsu Bijutsukan 浜松市美術館) in 1974 (Showa 昭和49).
The unprinted margin on the right hand side of the paper is torn but the image is intact. There are a few small holes. Very clear impressions. Important both for the history of Buddhist art and the world history of illustration as well.