11 July 2021

Prince Shōtoku

Prince Shōtoku (born 574) was a regent and politician who was instrumental in disseminating Buddhism in ancient Japan. He also founded several temples, including the Hōryū-ji temple (which is home to the world’s oldest wooden structure – made from hinoki!) This sculpture from the 1200s shows the royal toddler with his hands in prayer and is made from precious hinoki wood.

Why hinoki cypress?

“I hope to illustrate that the wood species, the quality of the wood, and the skill of the sculptor together comprise the powerful presence we see and feel in it.”
– Angela Chang, Harvard Art Museums

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