Shōkannon standing on a pedestal of lotus

Unknown14th century AD

Museo d'Arte Orientale

Museo d'Arte Orientale
Torino, Italy

Statue height 90.5 cm, pedestal (Kokonoe rengendai) 54 cm. The statue is fitted to the pedestal by means of tenons beneath the feet and mortises in the base. The crown and the little Buddha above the forehead can be removed, whereas the other jewels are attached to the sculpture by wires.
The Sanskrit name of this bodhisattva, Avalokiteśvara, describes him as “the Lord who looks down” towards the suffering of humanity; the Japanese version, Kannon, expresses it with a different nuance as “He who hears the voices of the world”. The Shōkannon form is used in Japan to distinguish its older iconography from all others.
The statue can be dated to the late Kamakura period (1185-1333) or the early Muromachi period (1336-1568). Made from lacquered and gilded wood, this sculpture is a work of exceptional importance: the attention to proportion and the technical perfection of the finishing make it a true masterpiece.


  • Title: Shōkannon standing on a pedestal of lotus
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 14th century AD
  • Physical Dimensions: w54 x h155 cm
  • Origins: Japan
  • Objects: Standing Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Shōkannon) statue
  • Provenance: Compagnia di San Paolo
  • Type: Sculptures
  • Rights: All Rights Reserved - MAO Museo d'Arte Orientale, Turin
  • Medium: Multiple-woodblock construction: Yosegi-zukuri technique. Japanese cypress wood: techinque shippaku

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