Takumi Obata was an accomplished Japanese iron smith during the Tokugawa period (1602-1868) who created work such as the lanterns of the Tokugawa Shogunate mausoleums and the bronze bell of Chosho-ji Temple in Tokyo. During the early 1900s, the bronze kannon statue pictured above was acquired from Kotokuin, Kamakura, Japan by American businessman Rudolf S. Hecht who had it placed in the Middlegate Japanese Garden located in Pass Christian, Mississippi.
Fast forward to 2005, the popular destination was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The bronze kannon staute would sustain significant structural damage and the Middlegate Japanese Garden would permanently close. In pieces and exposed to the elements, the bronze statue would be purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Gabrych and would have it donated to the Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG) in 2017. Funding from the California Cultural Historical Endowment and the County of San Diego’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program has helped JFG prepare the installation space while funding from the Parker Foundation and various individuals have helped with completing restoration of the statue. Today, the bronze kannon statue rests in JFG’s lower garden where a new stream has been installed decorated with various florae.
On Thursday, December 20, the new outdoor exhibit featuring the bronze kannon bosatsu will be open for public display!
Kannon Bosatsu (Avalokitesvara)
Created: 1735 A.D.
Sculptor: Takumi Obata
Provenance: Edo Musashino kuni
Material: Cast Bronze, 12’ x 6’, 5750 lbs
Acquired date: 2017.05.09
Previous owner: Middlegate
Japanese Gardens, MS
Donors: Marian and Eugene
Conservator: Jill Hari Art
Conservation, Los Angeles