Nov 13, 2009
Nov 13, 2009
Nov 13, 2009

Prince Shōtoku at Age Two (Shōtoku Taishi)

Prince Shōtoku at Age Two (Shōtoku Taishi)


early 1300s

Wood with lacquer, color, and rock-crystal inlaid eyes

Overall: 68.6 cm (27 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Campbell Weir in memory of Dr. and Mrs. William Hawksley Weir 1989.76


Did you know?

Shotoku Taishi had several titles. One translates to "the prince of the stable door" because he was said to have been born in the imperial stables.


This sculpture depicts Shōtoku Taishi (about 574–622), prince regent of Japan, in a pose indicating a particular episode from legends about his life. Shōtoku is widely recognized as a major force in the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, and a robust religious cult devoted to the prince had developed by the late 13th century. This idealized portrait commemorates the moment when the precocious prince, aged two, faced east, placed his palms together in a gesture known as gasshō, and intoned the name of the Buddha, all without having been taught the practice. The incident foreshadowed his future role as a champion of Buddhism.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email