Animals are regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient beings, with capacity for suffering and potential for enlightenment. This section of ten paintings show the rakan engaged with a variety of animals, both real and mythical. In the right scroll, a rakan gently cleans the ear of an animal that appears to be a hybrid of unicorn and deer. Above, two rakan gleefully take a ride on flying red foxes. In the left scroll, an attendant presents a giant turtle with a luxuriant growth of algae. He points to the carapace design, which the sage attempts to divine. In the background, a rakan makes the “knife” gesture to subdue a dog-headed beast with hooves and tusks.
Kano Kazunobu (1816–63)
Japan, Edo Period, ca. 1854–63
Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
Collection, Zōjōji, Tokyo