Saturday, September 24, 2016

Old postcard: Great Image of the Daibutsu in Kobe, Japan

I love this postcard and its framing, with the two small children in front of the towering figure. It must date to before World War II, because this statue, Hyōgo Daibutsu, was melted down in 1944 as part of the war effort and not replaced until 1991. With regard to that name, Hyōgo Daibutsu: It is located in Hyōgo Prefecture, and Daibutsu translates to "giant Buddha." It is the term used for all statues of this type.

This Buddhist temple, Nōfuku-ji, might date to the early 9th century and might have been founded by Saichō. One of his personal monastic vows was: "So long as I have not attained wisdom, I will not participate in worldly affairs unless it be to benefit others."

Nōfuku-ji went through major changes in the 20th century. A new central sacred building (honden) was constructed in 1953 but greatly damaged in 1995's Great Hanshin earthquake. And, as mentioned, the original Hyōgo Daibutsu was destroyed in 1944 and not replaced for nearly a half-century. This is what it looks like today. (The new face seems a little rounder, but they are very similar.)

By melveny - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Mary, writing on a blog called The Journey of My Feet, wrote briefly about a trip to this Temple in a 2012 post.

Here are a few zoomed-in details from the front of this unused postcard, followed by an image of the back.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful postcard! For other views of the Great Buddha, I've compiled some pictures from 1863, 1897, 1902, 1923, 1942, 1951, 1983, and 2012.