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Wooden Edo buddhist statue 8 arms Benzaiten - very old

Wooden Edo buddhist statue 8 arms Benzaiten - very old

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Sculpture: Pre 1800: Item # 1217326

Please refer to our stock # 0031 when inquiring.
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CONDITION : Good ( little damages due to an age of more than 200 years, but they do not reduce its beauty )

SIZE : Width 20cm (7.9''), Length 15cm (5,9''), Height 42,42cm (16.7''), Weight 930 g

This is a Buddhist statue of Japanese coloured wood carving. It was made about 200 years ago and it is a real authentic original. It is never imitation. Such very old buddhist statues are very rare and valuable. There are some damages caused by using for 200 years, but they surely force the beauty of this special statue.This is an example of perfect Wabi-Sabi.

Benzaiten is the Japanese name for the Hindu goddess Saraswati. Worship of Benzaiten arrived in Japan during the 6th through 8th centuries, mainly via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light, which has a section devoted to her. She is also mentioned in the Lotus Sutra and often depicted holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute, in contrast to Saraswati who holds a stringed instrument known as a veena. Benzaiten is a highly syncretic entity with both a Buddhist and a Shinto side.

Transfer from India to Japan

Referred to as Sarasvatî Devî in Sanskrit (meaning "Goddess Saraswati"), Benzaiten is the goddess of everything that flows: water, words, speech, eloquence, music and by extension, knowledge. The original characters used to write her name read "Biancaitian" in Chinese and "Bensaiten" in Japanese and reflect her role as the goddess of eloquence. Because the Sutra of Golden Light promised protection of the state, in Japan she became a protector-deity, at first of the state and then of people. Lastly, she became one of the Seven Gods of Fortune when the Sino-Japanese characters used to write her name changed to 弁 財 天 (Benzaiten), emphasizing her role in bestowing monetary fortune. Sometimes she is called Benten although this name usually refers to the god Brahma.

In the Rig-Veda (6.61.7) Sarasvati is credited with killing the three-headed Vritra also known as Ahi ("snake"). Vritra is also strongly associated with rivers, as is Sarasvati. This is probably one of the sources of Sarasvati/Benzaiten's close association with snakes and dragons in Japan. She is enshrined on numerous locations throughout Japan; for example, the Enoshima Island in Sagami Bay, the Chikubu Island in Lake Biwa and the Itsukushima Island in Seto Inland Sea (Japan's Three Great Benzaiten Shrines); and she and a five-headed dragon are the central figures of the Enoshima Engi, a history of the shrines on Enoshima written by the Japanese Buddhist monk Kōkei in AD 1047. According to Kōkei, Benzaiten is the third daughter of the dragon-king of Munetsuchi; literally "lake without heat"), known in Sanskrit as Anavatapta, the lake lying at the center of the world according to an ancient Buddhist cosmological view. Benzaiten as a kami.

Benzaiten is a female kami to Shinto with the name Ichikishima hime no mikoto. Also, she is believed by Tendai Buddhism to be the essence of kami Ugajin, whose effigy she sometimes carries on her head together with a torii . As a consequence, she is sometimes also known as Uga Benzaiten or Uga Benten. Shrine pavilions called either Benten-dō or Benten-sha, or even entire Shinto shrines can be dedicated to her, as in the case of Kamakura's Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine or Nagoya's Kawahara Shrine.

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