The Bodhisattva Fugen and Attendants

Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, 13th century
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (image): 140.9 × 73.1 cm (55 1/2 × 28 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

anjali mudra, attendant, Buddhism, child, elephant, halo, Japan, kakemono, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333)
Provenance research underway.

The bodhisattva (enlightened being) Fugen is generally represented as a majestic protective power. Here he is seen accompanied by a large heavenly retinue descending on a cloud to greet a soul departing from its earthly abode. While not an image inherently tailored to convey compassion and tender understanding, this use of Fugen in the raigo, or "welcoming descent," format expresses the tendency of most Japanese Buddhist sects in the late Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura periods (1185-1333) to tailor sometimes obscure doctrinal emphases in favor of responding to believers' need for assurance of peace in the afterlife.

Published References
  • Wen C. Fong, Jerome Silbergeld. Bridges to Heaven: Essays on East Asian Art in honor of Professor Wen C. Fong. 2 volume set, Princeton. .
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2: pt. II, p. 24.
  • Mayuyama Junkichi. Japanese Art in the West. Tokyo. pl. 83.
  • Unknown title. no. 759 Tokyo. pl. 6.7.
  • Genshoku Nihon no Bijutsu [A Kaleidoscope of Japanese Art]. 30 vols., Tokyo, 1966-1980. pl. 9.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 7, vol. 2: p. 153.
  • Tanaka Ichimatsu. Tanaka Ichimatsu kaigashi ronshu. 2 vols., Tokyo, 1985-1986. p. 30.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 96.
  • Karen Lee Brock. Tales of Gisho and Gangyo: Editor, Artist, and Audience in Japanese Picture Scrolls. Ann Arbor. p. 283.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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