Tennin 天人 and Tennyo 天女 are angels, or divine messengers tenshi 天使 found in Japanese and Chinese Buddhist traditions. They are frequently represented as bodhisattvas, or spiritual beings accompanying the divinities and Buddhas living in the heavenly realm. As shown here in this exquisite hollow core wood carving, the statue was made of Japanese cypress in joined block construction, meticulously brushed lacquer and gilded gold, with crystal inlaid for the ushnisha, and reverse-painted crystal inserts for her downcast eyes. Standing on a black lacquer pedestal (newer), she is leaning slightly forward in a noble and courteous mien, with hands hold forth in an offering gesture, and or as the Amida Nyorai attendant Seishi 勢至 , the Bosatsu possibly once held a lotus flower in hands; in a life-like presence denotes the carver’s intricate skill that exemplifies the artistic sophistication and elegance of the early Japanese wood carving, the rolling pleats and folds of her dress gives the impression of the goddess is floating just above the earth. Though there are minor lose and some age cracks, the 18th century or earlier large yosegi-zukuri Edo figure is in sublime and good condition overall.
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