About the Yakushi Triad Enshrined in the Kondo of the Yakushiji Temple – The 6th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

The author at the seminar.

 The origin of the Yakushi Triad (consisting of Yakushi Nyorai, the Healing Buddha, flanked by two attendants, the Bbodhisattvas Nikko and Gakko) enshrined in the Kondo (Main Hall) of the Yakushiji Temple in Nara remains uncertain. Opinions are divided as to whether it was made at the end of the 7th century or the beginning of the 8th century. To this end, it cannot be said that the issue of the background of the construction, such as how an example that shows excellent formality such as this statue was realized in Japan at the time, was not sufficiently examined.
 In this regard, as an associate fellow of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, I conducted a presentation titled “About the Yakushi Triad Enshrined in the Kondo of the Yakushiji Temple: A View from the Relationship between Yakushiji Temple and the Shitennoji Temples in Gyeongju, South Korea on November 28, 2023.”
 The Yakushiji Triad has attracted attention not only for its realistic physical expressions, but also for the various patterns on the box-shaped pedestal on which the central statue sits. This presentation focused on the deformed figures with curly hair and fangs, and on the similarity with demonic figures attached to the Wall Tile with the Guardian Deity Motif Covered in Green-glaze from the site of the Shitennoji Temple in Gyeongju, South Korea. Since the Shitennoji Temple was founded at the end of the 7th century, I assumed that the Yakushiji Triad was also produced at the end of the 7th century, and examined the background of the creation of the Yakushiji Triad by examining the relationship between the temples of Silla, a former kingdom within present-day Korea and Yakushiji in the same period.
 The seminar was held in a hybrid on-site/online format. Experts on the history of Buddhist art from outside the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) also participated. They pointed out the need for further comparison with other objects of the same age. In the future, I would like to take a broader perspective and deepen my consideration of what concepts the pedestal was based on.

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