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Amida Buddha

11th century-12th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Seated image of Amida Buddha
    Place where the work was made
    Cultural origin
    Pure land sect (Japan)
    Heian period 794 - 1185 → Japan
    11th century-12th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    nutmeg wood with black lacquer and traces of gold leaf
    96.8 cm :

    a - figure, 53.5 x 40 cm

    b - stand, 57 x 50 cm

    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the WH Nolan Bequest 1984
    South Building, lower level 1, Asian Lantern galleries
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    This classic image of the Amida Buddha echoes the qualities of formality and spiritual serenity so characteristic of the Buddhist art of Japan. The personification of eternal life, compassion and boundless light, Amida is the Buddha who reigns over the Western Paradise. He is the central deity of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism that had its foundations in the teachings of the fourth-century Chinese monk Hui Yuan, and grew to become the most popular sect of the faith in East Asia. Central to its teachings is the doctrine that for rebirth in the Pure Land nothing more than the constant invocation of the name of Amida is required. In Japan, under the inspiration of the Heian period monk Genshin (942-1017), the sect gained immense influence: not only through its promise of a passage to the Paradise, but also through Genshin's colourful descriptions of the Western Paradise and the beguiling imagery and art they stimulated. Carved from a hard, dense nutmeg wood - with that inherent feeling for the qualities of the material for which the Japanese artist and craftsman are so admired - the image conveys the peace, harmony and spiritual certainty that is the promise of the Western Paradise of Amida.

    Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 268.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 5 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 10 publications

  • Provenance

    Setsu Gatodo Co. Ltd., Fine Arts & Antiquities, Apr 1983-May 1984, Chuo-ku/Tokyo/Japan, purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1984.