- Museum number
Figure. Emaciated Shaka after fasting, halo behind; on base. Made of gilded and lacquered bronze. Signed and inscribed.
- Production date
Height: 37.80 centimetres
Width: 29 centimetres
Depth: 24.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Statue of the Buddha Shaka
Shaka is the Japanese name of the Indian prince Gautama, who achieved enlightenment at the age of 35 and became a Buddha.
When he was 29, Shaka left a life of luxury at his father's court. He spent six years of hardship, eating and drinking almost nothing in his search for the truth about existence and escape from suffering. He became thin and weak and, according to tradition, his skin runed black. the statue shows Shaka in this emaciated state.
An inscription on the base of the statue says that it was commissioned by Jokaku, third abbot of Mankoji temple, Kanazawa. It was consecrated on the 15th day of the second month, 1630, the day on which the passing of the Buddha into nirvana is commemorated each year.
Bronze, gilt and lacquer, 1630
Signed Minamoto Masakatsu
Given by Sir A.W.Franks
(Label copy, 2017)
This figure of the emaciated Shaka (S:Sakyamuni) shows his golden skin blackened through the austerities of his period of contemplation in the wilds before his enlightenment. An inscription on the base indicates that the figure was commissioned by Jokaku, third abbot of Manko-ji temple and was consecrated in 1620 on 15th of the second month, the day when the Buddha's death is commemorated. The maker Minamoto Masakatsu of Kii province is described as 'Hachiya', or 'bee-keeper', possibly indicating the supply of bee wax for use in bronze casting.
(label copy, VH, 1998)
Smith et al 1990
A further inscription tells that the image was commissioned by Jokaku, the third abbot of Mankoji Temple at Kanazawa in Kaga Province, and that it was consecrated on 15 February 1630 (on the day when the death of the Buddha is celebrated). The dark lacquer applied over the gilding indicates that the Buddha's golden skin became blackened during his period of solitary contemplation, when his body also took on the emaciated appearance so movingly shown here.
With the economic decline of the Buddhist temples in the Edo period the production of large metal sculpture diminished, but small images were still made. According to the inscribed base, this image, commissioned by Jōkaku, third abbot of the Mankōji temple, was consecrated on 15 February 1630, when the Buddha's death is commemorated. The dull lacquer over the gilding represents the tradition that when an ascetic his golden skin turned dark.
- On display (G93/dc4/sJ)
- Exhibition history
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
2006 Oct-2017 Dec, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
2018 Oct- , BM Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries
- Acquisition date
- Registration number