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Ask Udder Smith: Buddhist Statue Mystery

August 16, 2010

Dear Udder:

There’s a small statue in my neighborhood; I ask my neighbors who it represents or the meaning, but no one seems to be sure. Is there a book that identifies common statues in Japan?

Stumped in Chiba

Dear Chiba:

There’s not a book in English, but a comprehensive, A – Z website that may help you in your search. Japan indeed contains thousands of Buddhist statuary, and the local stories and legends surrounding the statues can help you appreciate the rich spiritual history of Japan. Luckily, an ex-pat living in Kamakura City in Kanagawa, Mark Schumacher, has spent 15 years compiling research. Please see his site here:

A-to-Z Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist Statuary

Best wishes!


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