Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)
The Great Buddha at Kamakura
(Kamakura Daibutsu), 1930
Color woodblock print
15 1/2 x 10 3/8 inches (39.4 x 26.4 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of
Mrs. Staunton B. Peck, 1965
Hasui’s print depicts the famous Great Buddha located in Kamakura. This sculptural representation of the meditating Amida Buddha, the Buddha of the Pure Land, was cast in bronze in the year 1252 upon the request of the shogun Minamoto Yorimoto. A family of three pays their respects to the Buddha, their small size and quiet poses accentuating the tranquility and meditative quality of the scene. The Kamakura Great Buddha attracted foreign travelers as early as the 1880s, when it was included in guidebooks for tourists. On a visit with the historian Henry Adams to the site, artist John LaFarge photographed and drew the Great Buddha in 1886.