This small, dark wooden sculpture of a seated man bent over with his hands covering his face caught my eye at a silent auction earlier this month. I picked up the piece — smooth, curved, with interesting hand-carved detail all around, about the size of a large softball. The man appeared to be created from a single piece of pretty-grained hardwood.
He felt comforting to hold in my hands. Really interesting. I showed it to a glee club sister looking over my shoulder who mentioned it was a Buddha. But I’d not seen a Buddha like this before. He wore a loin cloth, and his legs were crossed, but not in a lotus position. I couldn’t see his eyes. In any case, I thought he would complement my Kwan Yin statue.
I dared to place my bid. Nothing to lose unless I won. DH muttered, “Too low.” At the end of the day, nothing. “Oh well,” I thought. A full week later, the Daughters of Hawaii who had presented “A Day at Queen Emma Summer Palace” and ran the auction phoned. I’d won!
When I asked, the museum had no information about the item to give me, and I was still unfamiliar with this figure. My friends at dinner — I’d rushed to claim the prize on my way to meet Susan and Becky in Waikīkī — had not seen him either as I pulled out my treasure from the bottom of my handbag, but they agreed he felt good to hold.
Later that evening I Googled “man bent over with hands in face statue”. It turns out he is “The Weeping Buddha” who “takes away the grief and troubles of the world. In return, he bestows peace and provides strength to all those who rub his back.” Did you know about The Weeping Buddha? http://www.buddhagroove.net/television/ My cousin Paul who’s a frequent visitor to Japan said smaller versions are very popular as netsuke.
I’ll be rubbing my Weeping Buddha’s back every day.
P.S. As I get ready to publish this post, I notice as of this moment there have been 20,035 visits to Rebekah’s Studio. Thanks, everybody, for stopping by! ~ RL