Group of deva and devi

Historical period(s)
Nanbokucho period, 14th-15th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 115.8 x 56.7 cm (45 9/16 x 22 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Japan, kakemono, Nanbokucho period (1333 - 1392)

To 1904
Mr. Shibata, to 1904 [1]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Mr. Shibata, through Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), in 1904 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Bought from the heir of the owner through the Yokohama Specie Bank, with Bunkio Matsuki acting as agent (according to Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record). See further, See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, S.I. 19, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mr. Shibata (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


The eighteen figures represented in these two paintings (see F1904.312) are all grouped under the Japanese name tenbu, or heavenly beings. The varied figures generally personify forces active in the cosmos; all trace their origins to indigenous beliefs of India and Central Asia. The inscriptions that identify each being are not completely reliable, however, the guardians of the four directions, shown as fierce warriors in the left-hand painting, and the deities of the sun and moon, seen here with corresponding symbols at the top of each painting, are recognizable.

Other inscriptions indicate that the paintings originally belonged to Sanseizenji, a subtemple of Tofukuji, an important medieval Zen Buddhist center in Kyoto. Artists in the Tofukuji atelier were known for their high-quality iconography and skillful assimilation of influential Chinese Buddhist painting styles.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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