Japan: late Edo or early Meiji.
A most curious woodblock, in very fine condition, probably intended to be a mandala. The outer corners are renderings of the four guardian kings, who establish sacred space, with each one representing one of the cardinal directions. The remainder of the outer border depicts each king’s implements (noose, axe, sword, etc.). At the center is a figure of the goddess of mercy, Senju Kannon (Sanskrit: Sahasrabhujasahasranetravalokitesvara), the “1,000-Armed Kannon,” seated on lotus petals. She has four pairs of arms holding swords, axes, tridents, etc.
The surrounding text is in an Indic script, minutely carved. The delicate carving is a stunning example of the wood-engraver’s art and skill.
In fine condition.
Item ID: 8215