Japan - Edo period (1616 - 1868) / Large wooden group representing Bodhidharma and an Arhat

18th century
Asian Arts
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Large group representing Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism (Daruma in Japan) and an Arhat.
They are both carved from Japanese cypress wood. The traditional technique used here for shaping the two figures, called Yosegi-Zukuri, consists of assembling different separately designed pieces before the statue is made (here the lower part of the body and the face of the two subjects as well as the hands for the statue). Arhat). Another technique also used for our two sculptures, called Gyokugan, consists of hollowing out the face in order to insert the crystal or glass eyes, thus making the look very realistic.

Bodhidarma is depicted with a massive body, seated in a meditation position and wearing his traditional garment consisting of a loose cloak tied at the waist covering him almost entirely and showing only the face and part of the torso. He also wears a cloth covering his legs, tied at the abdomen with a cord. The traditional technique used here for the rendering of the drape and the pleating of the garment is called Hompa Shiki Emon and evokes a rolling wave. The almost rigid appearance of the sculpture is reinforced by the wrathful features of Bodhidharma who presents a face with a forehead crossed by deep furrows overhanging two large raised eyebrow arches meeting at the base of the nose. The latter short and flattering, with dilated nostrils, is framed by two large polychrome eyes giving the face a hypnotic gaze. The mouth forms an accentuated pout, thus reinforcing the stern aspect of the character.
Bodhidharma dimensions: 39 x 26 cm

The Arhat is shown seated, dressed in the Kesa and Kolomo, the traditional attire of Buddhist monks in Japan, covering it almost entirely except for the hands and face, a ring (Kan) placed on the left shoulder allowing its maintenance. The arms are positioned along the thighs, the right hand holding one attribute (the second missing). The rendering of the drape is materialized by the same Hompa Shiki Emon pleating technique, reinforced here by the wide flared sleeves extending to the floor, the one on the left receiving a fabric placed on the arm. The realistic-looking (removable) head features raised eyebrow arches overhanging almond-shaped eyes. Here also the technique known as Gyokugan (face sculpted separately and hollowed out in order to insert the eyes) was applied for a rendering of great realism. The fine and flattering nose overlooks a half-open mouth with thin lips, the ears with large lobes.
Dimensions of the Arhat: 39.2 x 26 cm

The partially gilded quadrangular base (probably reported) evokes an altar covered with a fabric.
Base dimensions: 33.3 x 17.3 cm

General condition: For both subjects, we will note a few splits and alterations to be related to seniority. Bodhidharma's eyes possibly posterior. The Arhat attribute is rugged at the top and shows a slight weakness, the second is missing. The base with wear and alteration of the gilding and there is an inscription in Japanese inside. Presence of an old label from the beginning of the 20th century indicating an art gallery located in Stockholm.

Ref: J3B8D3JP36

Style Asian Arts
Century 18th century
Materials Beech 
Shipping Time Ready to ship in 4-7 Business Days
Location 38090, Villefontaine, France

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