Kaikei (birth/death dates unknown) was a Busshi, Sculptor of Buddhist Statues, of the Kamakura period (1185-1333). He was one of the leading Buddhist sculptors, along with Unkei, of the Kamakura period. Since many of this school's Buddhist sculptors used the character KEI in their names, the school is known as KEI-ha (KEI school). Kaikei was also called Annamidabutsu, and his intelligent, picturesque and delicate style is called 'Annami-yo' (Annami Style). Many of his works are images of Amida-Nyorai (Amitabha) standing around three feet (approx. 100 cm), and there are many still in existance.
Kaikei's birth and death dates are not known. The first reference to Kaikei occurs in 'Unkei Gangyo' from 1183. Unkei Gangyo' is the Hokke-kyo (Lotus Sutra) transcribed by the sculptor Unkei after he became a temple petitioner. Out of the full eight volumes, Volume One was lost, Volume Two to Volume Seven are kept in Shinsho Gokuraku-ji Temple in Kyoto and Volume Eight is privately owned (all of them are Japanese National Treasures). In the postscript at the end of volume eight, Kaikei's name appears as one of the Keichiensha (a person who participates in, and contributes to, Buddhist practices).
His oldest existing work is a standing statue of Miroku Bosatsu, the Bodhisattva of the Future, produced in 1189, located at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (formerly in the collection of Kofuku-ji Temple). In this work, Kaikei's characteristic style, including the intelligent facial expression, the slim build body and the picturesquely curved robe, is already apparent.
From the second oldest existing work, which is a seated statue of Miroku Bosatsu in Sanboin, Daigo-ji Temple (1192), he started using the inscription 'Artisan AN AMIDA BUTSU' (writing AN in Sanskrit.)
The name 'Annamiyo' (Annami style) for Kaikei-style Buddhist statues comes from the AN AMI part of this inscription. He continued using this inscription till 1203 when he was awarded the priestly rank of Hokkyo (the third highest rank for Buddhist priests). Kaikei left his inscriptions on many of his works, which was unusual for Buddhist sculptors prior to the Japanese Middle Ages.
By signing his works 'Artisan,' it is clear that Kaikei was a sculptor who was very conscious of his position as an 'Artist.'
Also, calling himself 'An Amida Butsu' and leaving many Amida Nyorai statues shows that he was a devoted Amida follower.
With Unkei, Kaikei was involved in the rebuilding project of major temples in Nara, including Todai-ji Temple and Koufuku-ji Temple, which had sustained devastating damage when TAIRA no Shigehira ordered the burning of the city in 1180. In 1194, he was in charge of the statue (which is no longer extant) of Tamon-ten, one of the Ni-ten (Two Guardian Kings) statues of Todai-ji Temple's Chu-mon Gate (Inner gate). In 1203, he participated with Unkei and others in producing the statue of Kongo Rikishi (Nio) at Todai-ji Temple Nandai-mon Gate (Great south gate).
Kaikei was very close the monk, Shunjobo-Chogen, who was the Daikanjin (chief person in charge) during the restoration of Daibutsu (Big Buddha) of Todai-ji Temple. There are many statues related to Chogen, such as Todai-ji Temple's Sogyo Hachimanshin seated statue and the Amida Nyorai standing statue in Todai-ji Temple's Shunjobodo hall. The Nyorai statue (which used to be the Amida Sanzon (Amida Triad) statues until the side samurai were lost, and the main statue and base badly damaged, in an Edo landslide, the head later being remodeled based on that of the Birushana-butsu (Birushana Buddha) seated statue) at Shindaibutsu-ji Temple in Mie and the Amida Sanzon statues of Jodo-ji Temple in Ono City, Hyogo, are also statues from the Todai-ji Temple branch established by Chogen.
There are over 40 works in existence that have been authenticated as Kaikei's work, either from his inscription or from historic documents, though the year of production for many is unclear. Kaikei's works are left not only at major temples such as Todai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple or Daigo-ji Temple, but also at small temples with unclear histories.
Kaikei's year of death is not clear. However, a document found inside the Amida Nyorai standing statue (by Kaikei's disciple, Kokai) at Gokuraku-ji Temple, Joyo City, Kyoto Prefecture, mentioned that Kaikei was already dead in 1227, so this is the limit for his year of death.
This is a list of authenticated works.
Jubun' is the abbreviation for 'Juyou Bunkazai' (Kuni-shitei) - Important Cultural Properties (National nominated)
Early Period (Pieces signed 'Sculptor Kaikei')
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Standing Statue of Miroku Bosatsu (1189)
Artisan An Amida Butsu' Period
Daigo-ji Temple Sanboin (Kyoto City) - Seated Statue of Miroku Bosatsu (1192), Important Cultural Property
Ishiyama-dera Temple (Otsu City) - Seated Statue of Dainichi Nyorai (Vairocana) (around 1194), Important Cultural Property
Kengo-in Temple (Kyoto City) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai (around 1194), Important Cultural Property
Jodo-ji Temple, (Ono City, Hyogo Prefecture) - Standing Statues of Amida Sanzon (around 1195-1197), National Treasure
Kongobu-ji Temple (Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture) - Statue of Kujaku Myo-o (1200), Important Cultural Property
Todai-ji Temple (Nara City) - Seated Statue of Sogyo Hachimanshin (1201), National Treasure
Kosan-ji Temple (Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture) - Seated Statue of Hokan Amida Nyorai (coroneted Amitabha Tathagata) (1201), Izusan Jogyo-do old warehouse, Important Cultural Property
Jodo-ji Temple - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai (Naked statue) (1201), Important Cultural Property
Shin-Daibutsu-ji Temple (Iga City, Mie Prefecture) - Seated Statue of Nyorai (1202) Only head is original, Important Cultural Property
Todai-ji Temple Nandai-mon Gate - Standing Statue of Kongo Rikishi (1203) Co-produced with Unkei and others, National Treasure
Todai-ji Temple Shunjo-do Hall - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai (around 1203,) Important Cultural Property
Daigo-ji Temple Sanboin - Seated Statue of Fudo Myoo (1203) Important Cultural Property
Abe-monju-in Temple (Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture) - Monju-goson (Monju Quintet) Statues (1201-1203) Important Cultural Property
Matsuo-dera Temple (Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture) - Seated Statue of Amida Nyorai, Important Cultural Property
Saijo-ji Temple (Yamazoe-mura, Nara Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, Important Cultural Property
Hachiyo-renge-ji Temple (Katano City, Osaka Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, Important Cultural Property
Anyo-ji Temple (Tawaramoto-cho, Nara Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, Important Cultural Property
Henjoko-in Temple (Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, Important Cultural Property
Shinkyo-ji Temple (Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai
Tokyo University of the Arts - Seated Statue of Dainichi Nyorai
Nyoi-ji Temple (Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture) - Seated Statue of Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo Bodhisattva)
The Mary Griggs Burke Collection (New York) - Standing Statue of Jizo Bosatsu
Kongobu-ji Temple - Standing Statues of Shitenno (Four heavenly kings), Important Cultural Property
Kongo-in Temple (Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Shukkongo-shin (Vajrapani), Important Cultural Property
Kongo-in Temple (Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Jisha Taisho, Important Cultural Property
Hokkyo Kaikei' Period
Title of Hokkyo awarded in 1203
Todai-ji Temple, Kokei-do - Standing Statue of Jizo Bosatsu, Important Cultural Property
Daien-ji Temple (Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka City) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai
Hogen Kaikei' Period
Title of Hogen (the second highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests) awarded between 1208-1210
Toju-in Temple (Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, 1211, Important Cultural Properties
Korin-ji Temple (Kawanishi-cho, Nara Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, 1221, Important Cultural Property
Kodai-in Temple (Koya-cho, Wakayama Prefecture) - Amida Sanzon Statues, 1221, Important Cultural Property
Seiho-in Temple (Nara City, Toshodai-ji Temple branch) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, Important Cultural Property
Daigyo-ji Temple (Kyoto City, Sub-temple of Bukko-ji Temple) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai, Important Cultural Property
Enjo-ji Temple (Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture) - Standing Statue of Amida Nyorai
Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, USA) - Standing Statue of Shaka Nyorai
Fujita Art Museum (Osaka City) - Standing Statue of Jizo Bosatsu
Zuishin-in Temple (Kyoto City) - Seated Statue of Kongosatta, Important Cultural Property
Daihoon-ji Temple (Kyoto City) - Standing Statues of Judaideshi (ten major disciples of Shakyamuni), Important Cultural Property