Portrait Sculpture of Priest Gyōki, early 17th century


Gyōki (668–749) was one of the most celebrated Buddhist priests of the Nara period (710–94), revered as much for his spirituality as for his social and civic accomplishments. His most monumental undertaking was the casting of a colossal bronze statue of the Cosmic Buddha, Vairocana, at the temple Tōdaiji in the Japanese capital of Nara. This statue of Gyōki was created nearly a thousand years later, when interest in the life of the priest was rekindled during the renovation of the temple and repair of the Vairocana Buddha sculpture. It was based on a 13th-century portrait-sculpture now in the collection of Tōshōdaiji temple in Nara. Highly accomplished priests were believed to be living deities. After such a priest died, portrait sculptures were created and placed in special worship halls where monks made ritual offerings and performed daily religious devotions.



Priest Gyoki, Japan, Edo Period (#252)
Portrait Sculpture of Priest Gyōki
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.