Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 17th-early 18th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (sheet and image): 44.5 x 40 cm (17 1/2 x 15 3/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Laurence I. Hewes, III, in loving memory of Laurence I. Hewes, Jr. and Patricia E. Hewes
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Buddhism, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, mandala, Sanskrit

To 1998
Laurence I. Hewes III, Washington, DC [1]

From 1998
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Laurence I. Hewes III, Washington, DC [2]


[1] See Acquisition Consideration Form, object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mr. Laurence I. Hewes III


In this mandala, a schematic representation of the universe, "seed syllables" written in the Indian Sanskrit language symbolize Buddhist deities who are most often represented as figures, a form that can be seen in the pair of Mandalas of the Two Worlds displayed on the opposite wall of this room. This mandala representing the Womb World (Taizokai) also would have been paired with a Diamond World (Kongokai) mandala. Together they represent complementary aspects of the universe and were used for esoteric Buddhist ceremonies and individual devotional practices. "Seed syllable" mandalas were probably first produced in Japan in the mid-eleventh century. Reproduced by painting, embroidery, and woodblock printing, such mandalas continued to be reproduced for centuries.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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