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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
KOEI (Unkei IX)
Carved wood with traces of polychrome

21 x 17 3/4 x 16 1/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the
Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund

Arts of Asia

This temple sculpture was created by Koei Unkei, a master artist of the Muromachi period. Koei depicts Amida, the Amitabha Buddha, with tightly curled hair and loose flowing robes. The gleaming white stone on the figure’s forehead represents the universal brightness that emanates from the Buddha's enlightened state. 

Amida is the Japanese name of the Amitabha Buddha, who rules over the Paradise of the West, believed to be a heavenly place where the souls of Buddhists who have transcended the cycle of death and rebirth reside. Amida is the central figure of Jodo, or Pure Land Buddhism, a movement that became popular in Japan during the 12th century. Pure Land Buddhists believe that through faith and repeatedly reciting Amida’s name, anyone can escape earthly suffering.