Kako Genzai Ingakyo (Sutra of Cause and Effect)

Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, 14th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 26.9 × 75.1 cm (10 9/16 × 29 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Buddha, Buddhism, Japan, kakemono, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), lotus, Sutra of Cause and Effect

To ?
Hosomi Ryoichi (1901-1978). [1]

To 1962
Oriental Art Gallery, New York. [2]

From 1962
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Oriental Art Gallery, New York. [3]


[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Oriental Art Gallery
Hosomi Ryoichi 1901-1978


This fragment of a sacred Buddhist scripture (sutra) illustrates a dialogue in which the Buddha relates incidents of his life that led to his enlightenment.

This segment from a handscroll shows the Buddha's miraculous deliverance by a deity who bends a branch downward to rescue him from a turbulent river. In the next episode he is restored to health by drinking nectar from a thousand-petaled lotus.

The illustrations are set in imaginary landscapes that are intended to evoke the original settings of the stories in ancient India. The philosophical basis of this sutra is the Buddhist concept of karma, the system of causal relationships by which a person's good or evil actions affect future events. Illustrations of this sutra were first produced in Japan in the eighth century. This example dates from a revival of interest in the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, during the Kamakura
period (1185-1333).

Published References
  • Zaigai Nihon no Shiho [Japanese Art: Selections from Western Collections]. 10 vols., Tokyo, 1979 - 1980. vol. 2: pl. 52.
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2: pt. II, p. 17.
  • Mayuyama Junkichi. Japanese Art in the West. Tokyo. pl. 131.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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