• The pleasure of Buddhist figures that faithfully recreate 1000+ year old beauty

The pleasure of Buddhist figures that faithfully recreate 1000+ year old beauty

Figures of Buddhist images
By JQR editors
March 23, 2015

Illuminating a figure from various angles and with varying amounts of light allows it to be en joyed with different expressions and auras. The YURAGI glass case (size L ¥300,000 + tax, M ¥180,000 + tax) is designed to let you do just that. LEDs set into the top and bottom of the case offer six different options for lighting up the figure to emulate the passing of time.

Intricately-crafted Buddhist figures: the ultimate in soulsoothing interior ware

(Left) Vaiśravana (Standard)
365 (H)×195(W)×145(D)mm、
2.2kg. ¥60,000 + tax  
(Top) Cintāmanica kra (Standard)
325(H)×200(W)× 200(D)mm、
3.0kg. ¥80,000+ tax

Maitreya's gentle smile. The fearsome form of Acalanātha. Zao-Gongen, Vaiśravana, Asura, Thousand-armed Avalokiteshwara...
At times reflecting the heart of the viewer, other times helping them forget worldly cares: Buddhist images are unique works of art that have enthralled millions and provided spiritual sustenance to the Japanese for over a thousand years.
It follows that nothing could be better than owning a personal cultural treasure in the form of a Buddhist image, and there is growing demand for Buddhist figures. Of these, the Isumu collection features uniquely faithful reproductions of the actual original images. The company produces three different ranges, starting with the TanaCocoro (tanagokoro, meaning palm of the hand) collector's line, with each figure measuring about 20 cm in height; followed by the Standard and S-Class ranges.

Asura from the S-Class premium
series, a reproduction that maximizes
the allure of the Asura image.
With bas e as shown in the photo,
505(H)×320(W)×175(D) mm、
5.2kg. ¥210,000 + tax

All figures are made by hand. First of all, source material (mainly photos) of the original Buddhist image is gathered by staff in Japan to determine the scale (size) of the figure. The modeler then recreates the genuine article from top to bottom, in exacting detail. This copy is used for the casting of the figures in silicon molds, allowing every tiny detail to be faithfully reproduced. Silicon molds wear out faster than metal dies, and apparently only last for around thirty figures. The individually molded parts are then carefully finished by Chinese craftspeople trained over many years by Isumu.
For instance, the figure of Asura in Isumu's high-end S-Class range perfectly reproduces the statue's graceful, languorous visage and the cracking peculiar to dry-lacquered images. The 50 cm body is meticulously painted down to the finest detail in twenty colors, requiring twentyfive hours to produce a piece of artistic refinement.
The hardest part of the process across all three ranges is adding the “eyes”. A single touch of the brush determines whether or not a figure has a “soul”. A high level of skill is required here, and Isumu brand manager Matsukawa Masaki reveals that among the company's many employees there is only one who can do it properly every time.
We do indeed live in an era of global collaboration that generates some amazing products.

By faithfully recreating the details and achieving overall balance, the characte r of the original image is reproduced.
Each molded part is polished before as sembly and coloring.

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