Eleven Headed Kannon

Eleven Headed Kannon

12th century
Country
Japan
figure
Collector's Choice IV Benefit Fund
1982.134
. Eleven Headed Kannon. 12th century. Collector's Choice IV Benefit Fund. 1982.134.
Dimensions
height: 50 in, 127 cm; width: 19 in, 48.26 cm; diameter: 18 in, 45.72 cm
Department
Asian
Collection
Asian

Eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara
(Jūichimen Kannon)
1100s, Heian period (794–1185)
Japan
Polychromed wood and gold
Funds from Collectors’ Choice IV
1982.134

Known versions of the eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara date back to around the seventh century in India and China. In Japan, a depiction of Jūichimen Kannon (the Japanese name for this manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion) was one of the interior wall paintings within the main hall at Hōryūji, the seventh-century temple at Nara. Although eleven-headed is meant literally, sometimes the main head is not included in the count. This sculpture is carved from multiple pieces of wood, with five of its original eleven small heads configured on top of the main head. According to a popular explanation, Avalokiteshvara’s head split open from the pain of witnessing the suffering of humanity.

Exhibition History
  • “The Light Show” — Denver Art Museum, 5/19/2019 – 3/7/2021