The World of Devas

Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, 14th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 146.1 x 55.7 cm (57 1/2 x 21 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Japan, kakemono, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), man

Mr. Kawahara, Osaka [1]

To 1904
Yamanaka & Company, to 1904 [2]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1904 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]


[1] According to a note from the Original Kakemono List (see Curatorial Remark 3, in the object record).

[2] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Kakemono List, L. 492, pg. 137, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. The majority of Charles Lang Freer’s purchases from Yamanaka & Company were made at its New York branch. Yamanaka & Company maintained branch offices, at various times, in Boston, Chicago, London, Peking, Shanghai, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. During the summer, the company also maintained seasonal locations in Newport, Bar Harbor, and Atlantic City.

[3] See note 2.

[4] 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. Kawahara
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source) 1917-1965


This painting depicts the imagined heavenly realm in which the absence of desire produces freedom from sorrow. In the heavens dwell devas, celestial beings, who are surrounded by attendants and musicians. Like F1904.343, this painting was created to give tangible form to complex Buddhist ideas regarding illusion, attachment, and rebirth.

Published References
  • Yamamoto Satomi. "中世仏教絵画の図像誌: 経説絵巻・六道絵・九相図." Iconography of Medieval Buddhist Paintings: Sutra Picture Scrolls, Rokudo-e, Nine Phases. Tokyo, Japan, February 14, 2020. fig. 17.
  • Toru Shimbo. Rokudo-e [Pictures of Rokudo]. Tokyo. figs. 62-63.
  • Kokuho Rokudo-e., Fall 2007. .
  • Ogushi Sumio. New Materials for the Study of Paintings of Rokudo. no. 753. pp. 372-393, pls. 6-7.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects