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date: 22 August 2019

Myōman Mokujiki [Mokujiki Gogyō; Mokujiki Gyōdō; Mokujiki Meiman] locked

(b Marubatake, Kai Province [now Yamashi Prefecture], 1718; d 1810).
  • Donald F. McCallum

Extract

[Mokujiki Gogyō; Mokujiki Gyōdō; Mokujiki Meiman]

(b Marubatake, Kai Province [now Yamashi Prefecture], 1718; d 1810).

Japanese sculptor and Buddhist monk. He was an ascetic priest of the Shingon sect (see Buddhism §III 10.) during the Edo period (1600–1868) and apparently functioned as an itinerant monk (hijiri) in early adulthood. At the age of 45 he took vows as a ‘wood-eater’ (mokujiki), one who abstained not only from meat, fish and fowl but also from grains, eating only nuts, roots and berries. In 1773, after taking an additional vow to travel throughout Japan, he embarked on a programme of missionary activity that took him from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. Mokujiki was already in his early 60s when he began sculpting devotional images for the communities he visited, apparently following the example of his predecessor Enkū. Interestingly, he avoided localities where Enkū had made images. Mokujiki enjoyed excellent health and continued to produce sculptures until he was over 90 years old....

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