Mahakasyapa, Maha Kasho (Jap)
Student of the Buddha, who was renowned for his strict practise. Took a leading role in the Sangha after the death of Shakyamuni Buddha.
First Zen patriarch, after smiling as the Buddha held up a flower.
Wood artifacts are difficult to conserve. There are only a few surviving examples and this statue of Kasyapa in excellent condition is very precious. Though the exterior colored pattern has effloresced and peeled away, and the wood grain is exposed, it still represents the simplicity and beauty of wood-carving art.
With high and plump forehead, gracefully connected eyebrows, a lofty nose, deep half-closed eyes and furling mouth, Kasyapa seems both in deep meditation and smiling. The statue had been coated with rich and thick colored patterns but were worn away over years. The craftsman used multifold skills masterly and devoted much effort to carving the statue’s face. The Kasyapa’s head is rich in the sense of gradation, tempering toughness with gentleness, which successfully reveals the features of a wise monk who had experienced the hardships of life.