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Amida Buddha
Amida Buddha, Late 13th century
Japanese
Wood with traces of lacquer and gilt decoration; gilded bronze mandorla (halo)
43 3/4 inches (111.1 cm) Base: 8 1/4 inches (21 cm)
Purchased with Museum funds, 1959
1959-21-1a--c
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Looking Questions

  • Who could this be?
  • What do you notice about this statue’s halo, hair, face, and hands?
  • What is it made of?
  • Try to stand just like the statue. Notice how the feet and hands are placed and the expression on his face. When you stand like this, do you feel balanced or unbalanced? Peaceful or angry? Under control or wild and crazy?
  • What parts of the statue look most realistic to you? Does any aspect look idealized (perfect)?

Art Project: Soap Carving

Carving is called a subtractive process, because you start with a large, blank form and "subtract" or carve away what you do not want, leaving only what you want. Try carving a bar of soap. Select a pure soap, free of perfumes and lotions. Sketch a simple object, like a face or an animal, on paper the same size as your soap bar. Remember to sketch both the front and back of your object. Use a pencil to transfer the design into the soap. Use carving materials (toothpicks, paper clips, Popsicle sticks, and plastic knives and forks) to slowly shave tiny bits of soap away. Go slowly; cutting away too much, too fast will result in a broken bar of soap!

Research Idea

Many religions use art to aid people in their religious practices. Have each student select a religion (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Native American religions, Hinduism, indigenous African religions, etc.) and research the types of visual images, art objects, and architecture that are used for the purpose of worship. Discuss the role of art and architecture in worship around the world.

Group Activity: Body Language

The posture and pose of a sculpture can communicate much about the qualities of the person being portrayed. Have students bring in photographs from newspapers or news magazines in which figures stand in certain ways that tell us about them. How does the president stand? How does a really friendly person stand? How does an angry person stand? Students can also pick adjectives from a hat and try to communicate them with their stance, for example, angry, old, tired, proud, shy, etc. Look back at Amida Buddha. What was the artist trying to communicate?
 

For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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