Koun (康運)

Koun (years of birth and death unknown) was a sculptor of Buddhist images at the end of the Heian period and in the early part of the Kamakura period, and a member of the Kei school of sculpture. He received the title of Hokkyo (the third highest rank for an artist of Buddhist sculpture) (one theory holds that he might have been in the position of Soi (high rank of Buddhist priest)). He was the second son of Unkei. Although the years of his birth and death are unknown, one theory holds that he died in November, 1236.

Around 1198, assisting his father, Unkei, he produced statues of Nio (guardians of the temple) and statues of Niten (Two devas) inTo-ji Temple at the workshops of his four brothers, including his elder brother, Tankei. Next, in establishing the figures of shoson (a generic term for entities such as Nyorai (Tathagata), Bosatsu (Bodhisattava), Myoo, and heaven to be respected in Buddhism) in Kofuku-ji Temple Hokuendo (Northern Octagonal Hall), he was in the position of Hokkyo and produced a statue of Zochoten (the guardian of the southern quarter) among Shitenno-zo (Image of the four guardians kings). In May, 1223, he also produced a statue of Komokuten (the guardian of the West) among the figures of shoson in Jizo Jurin-in Temple, which was moved to Kozan-ji Temple. As for his name, "Kozanji engi (tales of the origin of Kozan-ji Temple)" tells that he changed his name to Jokei, although it is not clear.


Wooden standing statue of Amida nyorai in Sasama enmyo-ji Temple

[Original Japanese]