05 July 2005
Kamakura Daibutsu Study
While I was in Japan, Mariko and I visited Kamakura where we saw the famous Kamakura Daibutsu (literally "big Buddha"), a bronze statue that was cast in 1252 AD. I was quite taken with this statue, especially his hands, which rest in a position that is said to represent steadfastness. Knowing the story of the statue, that it used to reside inside a temple until 1495 when a tidal wave destroyed the temple but left the statue untouched, just adds to the sense of changelessness that the figure exudes.
As an American who lives in a country that is not yet 250 years old, I was overwhelmed to stand in the presence of a statue that has sat in the same spot and watched 750 years of Japanese history flow past. It felt more alive than me, just by virtue of its longevity.
I've decided to do a series of small woodblock prints about the Kamakura Daibutsu. Here's the final sketch of the Buddha's hands that will be the key block for the first print.