Study and photography of a wooden statue of the monk Shoshin while seated in Gunma Prefectural Museum of History
This study took part on June 21 (Tues.) and was part of a Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems research project on the Multi-faceted Study of Artistic Representations and Art Materials and Techniques. With the cooperation of Inuzuka Masahide of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques and Hagiwara Hajime, adjunct instructor at Musashino Art University, Tsuda Tetsuei and Sarai Mai of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems studied and photographed a wooden statue of the monk Shoshin (a cultural property designated by Gunma Prefecture that was sculpted by Daishin in the Kamakura period) from Hofuku-ji temple in the Town of Itakura, Gunma Prefecture on exhibit at the Gunma Prefectural Museum of History. Researchers had become aware of the statue’s existence following a full-fledged study by the late Kuno Takeshi, an emeritus researcher at the Institute, in which Kuno became aware of the statue’s inscriptions. Some time later, the statue underwent full-scale restoration, but its obtuse and complicated inscriptions remained unclear.
The aims of the current study were to accurately ascertain the statue’s structure and the conditions under which it is kept and to use infrared photography to discern its undeciphered inscriptions. This study also sought to verify the existence of a container holding the monk’s bones in the head of the statue. X-ray photography was attempted to meet these goals. Plans are to continue studying the statue and present findings and photographs from the study in Bijutsu Kenkyu.