Formal Analysis

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The Eleven-headed kannon is a Buddhist sculpture made of gold, metal,and wood that is from the Nanbokucho period (1332-92). In this case,a formal analysis will consider the physical attribute and what theysymbolize in the Buddhist religion. More importantly, the calm andrelaxed face expression stand out from the other physical attributesthat the sculpture has. Besides that, the head has a crown witheleven heads, and one is at the top and middle part. The two physicalattributes stress on the meditation and the enlightenment that mostBuddhists want to achieve. This essay gives a formal analysis of astanding Buddhist sculpture of a kannon and an eye-catching crown ofeleven heads with one being placed at the top and middle position tosymbolize the level of enlightenment.

The Eleven-Headed Kannon is a sculpture that is made of the wood,metal decorations as well as gold leaf, and all that has resulted inits amazing appearance. It has a unique and remarkable crown on topof the large head that consists of the eleven heads and a halo too.In fact, the halo illustrates how powerful and holy the sculpture isto the religion since the eleven heads somehow signify the variousstages of enlightenment that the Buddhist observes. The head and theentire body have a symmetric shape showing that the sculptor did agood job while working on the sculpture. The various metaldecorations on the crown have resulted in the head being overweightthan the entire body. The neck also has a number of soft folds thatsomehow supports the head that is carrying the huge burden. Thekannon has a relaxed facial expression while the face seems darker,and both of them align with the Buddhist’ themes that insist oncompassion and caring. The half-closed eyes and the mouth alsoillustrate a moment of self-reflection that also evokes the samefeeling among the viewers that might be believers of the religion.

On top of the head, a crown has the eleven heads that are rotatingaround it. The eleven heads maintain a calm facial expression showingthat they are somehow meditating or seeking enlightenment. However,the eleventh head is placed in the middle of the crown, and it seemsquite different from the other ones. More likely, it is the head ofBuddha that has achieved enlightenment hence, being placed in themiddle position. Down the sculpture, the sculptor adorned it withthick fold lines that illustrate a draping robe covering its body.Below the waist also shows some fold lines that also has a uniquedesign of a robe. His left hand seems to hold a can that has incensethat is crucial for the masses that most Buddhists undertake. Hisneck is filled with ornaments that might also symbolize his holinessas well.

In this case, the drapery of the clothing is also a crucial aspect,and especially below the waist. However, the folds maintain asymmetrical approach and the semi-circle downward theme that goesround the sculpture’s body. The sculpture’s feet, on the otherhand, are bare and that is one thing common in most kannonsculptures. The sculptor does a good job of representing the kannonefficiently. More importantly, the sculptor focuses on the crown thatillustrates the deity and levels one need to achieve to reach theenlightenment. Perhaps, that is the only mystery that might explainhow the sculpture’s face was able to create an eleven-headed crown.The face expression of the sculpture reveals a relaxed tone thatinsists on meditation. For instance, Buddhists are known to engage inthe meditation and urging the followers to practice compassion andcare. Hence, such reasons might be the reason behind the calm faceportrayed by the main face and the eleven other ones. TheEleven-headed Kannon represents a special being in the Buddhistreligion since it matches some of the sculptors that belong to thereligion. In fact, it illustrates a main head of the deity while itstill has some eleven more heads that represent the various stages ofenlightenment that the Buddhist observes (Eleven-Headed Kannon). Tosome extent, it might illustrate a symbol that urges the followers onwhat they should do to reach enlightenment that is the head that isplaced in the middle position. Hence, the sculpture is a perfectrepresentation of the beliefs and the religious ideologies that theBuddhists have. It reminds them of being compassion and seekingenlightenment through every activity that they are undertaking.

In conclusion, the standing sculpture reveals how the calm facialexpression and the eleven heads reveal more information aboutmeditation and the enlightenment stages too. In this case, thesculpture has an eye-catching crown that has eleven heads and oneposition at the top and the middle part. Apart from that, the calmand relaxed faces of all the heads also reveal how they are in ameditating session. All in all, the sculpture serves as a reminder tothe Buddhist to keep meditating since it is the only way that willlead to enlightenment. In fact, the single head that is at the toppart of the crown seems to address that particular theme ofenlightenment.


Eleven-Headed Kannon. N.d. Retrieved on 13th Oct, 2016,from:

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