Kosho (康勝) (康勝)

Kosho (date of birth and death are unknown) was a busshi (sculptor of Buddhist statues) in the Kamakura period. He was the fourth son of Unkei. Tankei was Kosho's elder brother. Keiha School.

His first reference on historical material concerned his involvement in working with Unkei and other sculptors, on the statue of Kongo Rikishi (Nio) at Nandaimon gate of To-ji Temple during 1197 and 1198, but the statue does not existent any more. When the Buddhist statues in Hokuendo hall of Kofuku-ji Temple were completely reconstructed in 1212 by Unkei and other busshi of his school, Kosho was in charge of statue of Tamonten (Vaisravana), which is one of Shitenno (four guardian kings), but now the whereabouts of the statue of Shitenno is unknown (the statue of Shitenno enshrined at present in Hokuendo hall of Kofuku-ji Temple are different ones made in the early Heian period).

Kosho's existing masterpieces include the statue of Kuya Shonin (a collection of Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple), which is one of the most famous masterpieces of all image statues in Japan, and the statue of Kobo Daishi (a posthumous title of the priest Kukai) in Mieido hall of To-ji Temple, which became the model for the statues of Kobo Daishi in later years.

The inscription of the seated statue of Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo Bodhisattva) (made by Kosei) in Nenbutsudo hall of Todai-ji Temple suggests Kosho died before 1237 when the statue was completed.


Seated statue of Kobo Daishi (national treasure) in Mieido hall of To-ji Temple: 1233
Standing statue of Kuya Shonin (important cultural property) in Rokuharamitsu-ji Temple: The production year unknown. The statue has the curious feature of spitting out six small statues of Amidabutsu (Amitabha Buddha) from its mouth. The six Amidabutsu symbolize that each Chinese character of 'Namu Amidabutsu' (a single, sincere call upon the name of Amida, 南無阿弥陀仏) changes into a Buddhist image.

Amida Sanzon-zo (the statue of Amida Triad) (bronze statues, the important cultural property) in West room in Kondo hall of Horyu-ji Temple: 1232
The original Amida Sanzon-zo enshrined there at first was stolen, so the existing one is an imitation modeled on the Asuka style. Statue of Seishi Bosatsu (Mahasthamaprapta), which is one of the ryokyoji (attendants statues), that flowed out of the temple in the early Meiji period, and the is now a collection of National Museum of Asian Art-Guimet in Paris.

His Supposed Masterpieces
Statue of Shitenno in the Enjo-ji Temple (an important cultural property): 1217

[Original Japanese]