Enkū

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Enkū (円空?) (1632–1695) was a Japanese Buddhist monk and sculptor during the early Edo period. Born in Mino Province (present-day Gifu Prefecture), he wandered all over Japan, helping the poor along the way. During his travels, he carved some 120,000 wooden statues of the Buddha. No two were alike. Many of the statues were crudely carved from tree stumps or scrap wood with a few strokes of a hatchet. Some were given to comfort those who had lost family members, others to guide the dying on their journeys to the afterlife. Thousands of these wooden statues remain today all over Japan, especially in Hida and Gifu regions.

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Further reading[edit]

Alphen, Jan Van [et al.] Enku 1632-1695. Timeless Images from 17th Century Japan. Antwerpen, Etnografisch Museum., 1999, 192pp., 9 essays, very richly illustrated

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