Sentai-butsu (one thousand buddhas) is the term used for a large group of paintings or sculptures, normally of similar style and dimensions. The practice of commissioning quantities of Buddhist icons was in place in Japan by the seventh century. The most famous of these collections are the one-thousand statues of Kannon in the Sanjusangendo in Kyoto.
This image of Kannon was sold with sculptures and utensils by Kofukuji Temple, Nara, around 1900 to raise funds for maintenance. Many Buddhist temples encountered severe shortages when Shinto replaced Buddhism as the state religion. One of Japan's great private collectors, Masuda Takashi (Don'no; 1848-1938) is said to have been given seventy-seven objects, sixty of them recorded as sculptures similar to the figure shown here, when he contributed to the temple's reconstruction. The collector Fujita Denzaburo (Kosetsu; 1841-1912) acquired fifty, now in the Fujita Musem of Art, Osaka. Many other sculptures are known outside of Japan.