About this artwork
Icon plaques, or kakebotoke, were widely produced beginning in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) for use in both Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Their circular form derives from the shape of polished bronze mirrors. Earlier kakebotoke were made of bronze, with images engraved with fine lines. Circular wood plaques such as this one, with attached cast images and repoussé ornamentation, supplanted these. The plaques were hung under the eaves of temples, where they could be seen and worshipped by multiple people at once.
In the center of this plaque is Kannon, the bodhisattva of mercy and compassion. Along the outer rim, three sets of dharma wheels represent the teachings of the Buddha, and two vajras signify weapons used to destroy evil. In the inner circle, wish-granting jewels stand for the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Buddhist law (dharma), and the community of believers (sangha).
- Icon Plaque (Kakebotoke) with Kannon Bosatsu
- Wood and bronze
- 53.5 cm (diam.)
- Kate S. Buckingham Endowment