Twelvefold Dhuta Practice: The Hermitage, Five Hundred Arhats: Scrolls 41 and 42

This pair of scrolls pictures the rakan’s habitat, conceived as a remote place set amidst forests and mountains. Projects are in progress: To the right, a rakan worships a Buddha figure he has just finished carving, as evidenced by the wood shavings still scattered at its feet. It appears to be modeled after a much-copied icon at Seiryoji in Kyoto. Behind him, a rakan sculpts a lotus pedestal while an attendant sharpens a chisel on whetstone. To the left, a rakan demonstrates how to string a rosary while attendants wash and puncture each bead.

Linear perspective is employed across the two scrolls and clearly articulates the architectural structure of the building raised on wooden stakes. Saturated colors and sharp detailing at bottom offsets the landscape at top, rendered in soft hues and hazy contours. These techniques give the composition a sense of spatial depth.

Kano Kazunobu (1816–63)
Japan, Edo Period, ca. 1854–63
Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
Collection, Zōjōji, Tokyo