Kongo Rikishi Description
While looking through Art Beyond the West, I came upon a very interesting statue in the Japan and Korea section. At first sight this statue resembled a demon-like figure. After further observation and reading, I soon discovered that this statue is actually a guardian for Buddha. This magnificent sculpture is made out of wood and was hand crafted during the kamakura Period, 1203. This piece is 8.07 meters tall (26'6" feet). The amount of detail in this sculpture is incredible. Starting with the head, the definition in the face is very protruding and detailed. The lines of the eyes are very defined and smooth which develops a very defined facial expression. The ear lobes on this sculpture are quite long which can be compared to Buddha, but this figure is not Buddha, but merely has a relationship to Buddha as a guardian from demons. When building this sculpture, the artists must have spent a great amount of time and effort to maximize the detail and shape of the teeth. With much difficulty, the artists managed to put extreme amounts of detail within the rest of the body as well.
The upper body of the statue is carved with greats amount of detail with a sense of hyper reality in the defining of the arm muscles, and the abdomen muscles. On the chest is an amulet of some sort that has multiple protrusions and indentations which ultimately defines a very detailed amulet. In the right arm of the statue is a weapon of some sort. The weapon shows similarity to a staff or javelin like weapon. Within the weapon, is a great amount of detail through the entirety of the weapon and on the top of the weapon is a spherical top piece which has openings that are curved into one another. The only piece of clothing that the statue is wearing is a skirt piece that resembles a samurai outfit with a headband. This part of the statue is very impressive, because it is carved into the wood and it still manages to have a flow appearance to it. Because every crinkle and wave of the fabric is seen in the carving, the amount of detail in the skirt is extreme. When observing the legs of the statue, there is a sight of hyper reality in the muscles of the legs and much detail resembling the arms. The overall appearance of the structure is a very masculine and muscular piece with very detailed carvings.
ReferencesRiley, Michael. "Africa." In Art beyond the West: The Arts of Western and Central Asia, India and Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea, the Pacific, Africa, and the Americas, 171. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.
Image Credit: Tatsurus
Link: Kongo Rikishi