Prince Shōtoku: The Secrets Within


Sat - Sun, May 25 to Aug 11, 10:00am - 5:00pm


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
PrinceShotokuThis exhibition gives visitors the rare chance to encounter a significant 13th-century Japanese icon, Shōtoku Taishi at Age Two, from the inside out. Legendary prince Shōtoku Taishi (c. 574–622) is regarded as the founder of Buddhism in Japan. At two years old (one by the Western count), he was believed to have taken several steps forward, faced east, put his hands together, and praised the Buddha. A sacred relic, the eyeball of the Buddha, then appeared between his hands. The diminutive life-size sculpture—the oldest and finest of its kind—depicts that miraculous moment. One of the most important objects from the group, an extremely rare printed Lotus Sutra dating to the Southern Song period (c. 1160), was subsequently gifted to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Thanks to the generosity of the Library of Congress, this exhibition reunites the Sutra with the remaining ensemble for the first time in over 70 years. Also featured in the exhibition is the spectacular 14th-century painting The Legendary Biography of Prince Shōtoku, on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The painting relates several miraculous incidents from the prince’s early life. For more information, click here.