Restoration of Jūichimen Kannon Bosatsu [Skt. Ekadaśamukha Bodhisattva] statue belonging to Enjōji temple
Enjoji Temple is located on the Yagyu Kaido Road, about 15 km east of Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Todaiji Temple. In the past, it was a relatively large temple with many pagodas and was known as the place where the high priests who served at Todaiji and Toji conducted their ascetic practices.
In the main hall, a seated Amida Nyorai statue, made in the late Heian period (794-1185), is enshrined as the principal object of worship, and a Jodo-style garden is located one step down in front of the main hall.
In the precincts of the temple, there is the National Treasure Kasuga-do, which was built as a miniature of Kasuga Taisha, as well as the worship hall and the Tower of Many Treasures. A seated statue of Dainichi Nyorai, one of the first works of Unkei, a Buddhist master active in the Kamakura period, and a statue of Four Heavenly Kings, which we restored in 2015, are enshrined in the So-oden hall, a newly constructed repository.
Precincts of Enjoji Temple
The 2019 restoration practice involved the restoration of a wooden eleven-faced standing statue of Kannon, which was made in the late Heian period. The main body of the statue was kept tied with strings because the legs had come off and each piece had come loose and could not stand on its own. The pedestal and the halo were added in the Edo period, and were heavily damaged by insects and rats, falling apart when the parts were lifted.
Highly Damaged Pedestal
In this restoration project, the main body was dismantled after a close inspection and investigation of the components by X-ray analysis. An inscription was found inside the statue, indicating that it was restored during the Shoho period (1644~1648).
Also, although it's hard to tell at first glance, it turns out that the left shoulder to the tip of the left hand was added in a later period. In addition, there is a mark on the hem from the left hip that appears to have been scorched by fire. This suggests that in the Shoho period, the left side of the statue was reworked, and the entire statue was lacquered and gilded.
The Four Heavenly Kings and the Seated Dainichi Nyorai Statue by Unkei
Eleven-faced Kannon (Bodhisattva)
The legs of this statue have an interesting structure that could be described as detachable. The restoration is now in the final stages of completion, and the work has been interrupted due to an outbreak of infection.
We plan to return to the temple when it is completed safely.
Structure around the foot
characters in a statue
This research was partially funded by a grant from the Buddhist Missionary Society of Japan. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you.