Zao Gongen is a deity between Shinto (indigenous religion of Japan) and Buddhism. Zao Gongen's statues are only seen in Japan. This posture represents the moment when the deity sprung forth out of the rocks, and the youthful and fierce expression combined with the red flames lend a regal air to the statue.
This bronze statue is a replica of the original statue made by the Keiha (慶派) Japanese Buddhist sculptor who was active in Nara during the Kamakura period (1185–1333). The original design of this bronze statue was commissioned from Mr. Maruyama (丸山明慧), a sculptor of Buddhist icons. Urushi was used in the final stages of the manufacturing process, so that the texture is expressed differently in each part of the statue.
This statue will be made after your order, using Takaoka bronze sculpting techniques. With a 400 year history of manufacturing copperware, the city of Takaoka is Japan's foremost producer of cast sculpted Buddhist statues. Statues crafted here are painstakingly molded, cast, finished, and colored by the hands of craftsmen who have inherited traditional manufacturing techniques.
Historically, Takaoka copperware was founded in 1611 when Toshinaga Maeda (前田利長), second lord of the Kaga fiefdom (加賀藩) and the man who would later become the founding father of Takaoka, sent word to Tannan in the Kawachi Province (河内国丹南郡), known as the birthplace of casting, to send seven of their finest casting masters to come open a foundry in Kanayamachi (金屋町) in a bid to promote the prosperity of his people. These efforts were focused primarily on iron casting at the time, but by the middle of the Edo period, they began to see success in the field of copper casting. As their prowess in this craft further advanced going into the Meiji period, their works were showcased at exhibitions to enjoy international acclaim, with their artistic copperwares going on to carve out a niche for them in the world of exports. In 1975, Takaoka copperware received primary designation for Japan’s Nationally Designated Traditional Craft Products.