Shotoku’s Carriage

“Shotoku's Carriage”

Date: 2013

Dimensions: 90” Wide X 62½” High X 62” Deep

Materials: Pine, Cast Glass, Manila Rope, copper and Bronze.

In 593, at the age of 19, Prince Shotoku became regent of what is now known as Japan. He ruled over three decades of rapid change. The Prince was responsible for making Buddhism the official religion of the state; he established standards of language, built roads and temples, which contained colleges, monasteries, and hospitals. He established governmental policy and wrote a kind of constitution that is thought by some to mark the beginning of modern Japan.

One of the temples built in Osaka during the reign of Shotoku called Shitennoji still exists and they have a great antique “flea market” on the grounds once a month. On each of several visits to this market I lit incense and spun the bronze dharma wheel (looks a lot like a ship’s wheel) at the entrance to the temple to insure my good fortune.

Driving near home on July first, I pulled up next to a flat bed carrying an antique farm vehicle identified by the truck driver as an “orchard sprayer”. I’m guessing it was headed for a 4th of July parade? The wooden “U” shaped tank and iron wheels looked almost amphibious.

Ancient Egyptian warships used a concave bow design, sometimes reinforced with bronze, to ram and sink enemy ships.

I am not sure what these sentences have in common other than broad interpretations like “transportation, nautical, historical themes etc. I have done some sailing and all of these references combined with cultural and spiritual inspiration from the “wheel of Life” and the life of an amazing prince, led me to the form of Shotoku’s Carriage a kind of spiritual hybrid if you will?