Gorinto (5-tiered stupa) sculpted in one piece from granite. Muromachi Period ca. 1500. Minor old loss.
Height: 37.1 cm
Width of base: 15.2 cm
Depth of base: 14.8 cm
The gorinto is a distinctively Japanese style of stupa comprising five geometric forms, which correspond (from bottom) to earth, water, fire, wind, and ethereal space. E. Dale Saunders, in his 1959 classic, Mudra, notes that the Japanese Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism views the gorinto as a symbol of Dai-Nichi Buddha, who, underlying all things, manifests himself in the five elements making up the physical world.
This example, sculpted from a high-quality gray-hued granite, shows excellent formal balance overall and sharp delineation among the five elements. Such gorinto reveal themselves only once in a great while. An outstanding piece.