This gilt-lacquered Buddha has a striking presence. It is Japanese, and actually a Buddhist Arhat, or saint – possibly a portrait of a revered abbot. It is approximately 2-1/2 feet tall and is make of several blocks of wood glued together.
The damage resulted in part from these blocks shrinking at different rates, causing large offsets at the surface – thankfully mostly on the back. There were also patches of missing lacquer. The rest of the surface had been regilded more than once, and there were large mottled areas of a red-clay ground. For aesthetic reasons it was decided to cover over some of these areas with Japanese 23-karat gold powder in B-72 acrylic to match the rest of the figure – this establishing one of the gildings as the aesthetically dominant one. The cracks were filled and inpainted with the same 23-karat Japanese gold powder.