Hall of Thirty-three Bays

Hall of Thirty-three Bays

1995

Hiroshi Sugimoto

(Japanese, 1948-)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 42.5 x 54.3 cm (16 3/4 x 21 3/8 in.); Mounted: 48.9 x 63.7 cm (19 1/4 x 25 1/16 in.); Paper: 47.6 x 60.3 cm (18 3/4 x 23 3/4 in.); Matted: 63.5 x 81.3 cm (25 x 32 in.)

Gift of Mr. Donald F. Barney, Jr., in memory of Helen Greene (Mrs. A. Dean) Perry 1998.116

Fun Fact

Sugimoto also refers to this series as the Sea of Buddha.

Description

During the summer of 1995, Sugimoto created a remarkable group of 48 images at the great Buddhist temple Sanjusangen-do (Hall of Thirty-Three Bays), Kyoto. This 390-foot-long wood building, containing 33 bays, shelters 1,001 almost identical, life-size standing statues of Bodhisattva Kannon. They are placed in rows and grouped around a central monumental figure of the same divinity. These imposing sculptures were carved and gilded by more than 70 artists during the 1100s and 1200s. In this exquisite print Sugimoto recorded the intricate and serene figures as they catch and reflect the early morning sun. His claustrophobic composition is dense with detail, pattern, and cultural and historical references. Standing on a ladder to achieve the low aerial view, he produced an endless array of identical heads with radiating haloes rhythmically receding into space. Here he beautifully presented his long-held interest in photographically depicting infinity and eternity.

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