Kongara-doji, attendant to the Buddhist Deity, Fudo Myo-o (one of a pair with F1970.28)

Artist: Takuma Chōga 宅間長賀 (fl. ca. 1253-70)
Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, early 14th century
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (image): 126.5 x 42.4 cm (49 13/16 x 16 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Acala, anjali mudra, attendant, Buddhism, Japan, kakemono, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), vajra
Provenance research underway.

These images of attendants Kongara-doji and Seitaka-doji originally flanked the central icon of Fudo Myo-o, the fierce diety who protected the Buddhist Law and guided the spiritual journey of those seeking enlightenment through Esoteric Buddhism. The location of the central image is unknown.

These paintings are unique in two respects. They are the earliest known examples of this subject in which the three elements—two attendants and the now missing central diety--were each depicted in separate paintings. Further, these paintings represent the first known example of a Japanese painter's impressing his own seal on a painting. A prominent Esoteric Buddhist iconographer, Takuma Choga was also regarded as one of the most talented artists of his day. He was active at a time when religious painters emerged from anonymity and were acknowledged as the artists of specific works.

An ink line drawing of Fudo Myo-o by Takuma Choga is in the collection of Daigoji, an important temple south of Kyoto. This and other evidence suggest that the images seen here may have been created under the auspices of that noted Esoteric temple.

See also F1970.28.

Published References
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2, pt. I, pls. 28, 29.
  • unknown title. no. 238 Tokyo, March 1986. pl. 61.
  • unknown title. no. 206 Tokyo, July 1983. fig. 77.
  • Genshoku Nihon no Bijutsu [A Kaleidoscope of Japanese Art]. 30 vols., Tokyo, 1966-1980. vol. 7: p. 239.
  • Gazo Fudo Myoo. Kyoto. p. 74.
  • Tanaka Ichimatsu. Some problems concerning Buddhist paintings by Choga, mainly on the images of Kongara and Seitaka., March 1962. pp. 97-104, pls. 1, 2.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 97.
  • Tanaka Ichimatsu. Nihon kaigashi ronshu. Tokyo. p. 134.
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 212-213.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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