Artist: Ryōzen (ca. 1328-ca. 1360)
Historical period(s)
Nanbokucho period, mid-14th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 115.3 × 59.7 cm (45 3/8 × 23 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Buddhism, halo, Japan, kakemono, lotus, Nanbokucho period (1333 - 1392), Panthaka
Provenance research underway.

This paintings portrays an arhat, who is believed to have been among the original disciples of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni. Through the teachings of the Buddha, arhats have attained transcendent wisdom and enlightenment, which has freed them from the cycles of birth and rebirth. The arhats remain in the world to defend and maintain the Buddhist law, or dharma. In painting, the arhats are shown as slender, ascetic monks with penetrating gazes that represent their divine vision, through which all the universe can be seen. Here, the arhat is accompanied by a human attendant, depicted in smaller scale to denote lower status. The attendants carry offerings of fruit and flowers.

This painting comes from a set of seventeen, depicting sixteen arhats and the historical Buddha. For special ceremonies in which the arhats were worshiped, the painting of the historical Buddha was displayed at the center of two facing ranks of eight arhats. This set bears inscriptions that link it to Sanshogokokuzenji, a subtemple of the Tofukuji, a Zen Buddhist monastery in Kyoto.

Published References
  • Butsuga Ruijyuu. vol. 1, Japan. .
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2: pt. II, p. 45.
  • unknown title. no. 234 Tokyo, November 1985. p. 58.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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