story of Zenzai Doji as a youth in searches for the teachings of the Buddha was
first described in the Kegon Kyo Sutra in the 3rd century. On his fifty-three
pilgrimages he encountered fifty-five saints and sages, then ultimately attained
spiritual enlightenment and became a bodhisattva. Zenzai Doji is often depicted
as the Red Boy (Sudhana), an acolyte of Kannon Bosatsu (Guanyin Bodhisattva).
depiction of Zenzai Doji in scholar garments seated by a rock, whose eyes gazed
downward with a sutra scroll (replaced) in hands, is a distinctive composition
and an individualistic portrait of the youthful Zenzai, realistically represented
with fleshiness and movements. The age of the statue is attributed to 19th century
or earlier. In its present state the bronze shows a few small patches of hardened
corrosion, particularly around the back and indented areas, where a partial surface
of burgundy red lacquere has faded into gray. It’s also possible that a small
koro was once above the rock to his right. Otherwise this impressive statue is
remaining in fair to good condition.