the Buddhist art of the Kamakura period in Japan (1185-1392) is one of the great religious arts and this thirteenth century painting on silk mounted as a hanging scroll is an elegant and fine example; the Descent of Amida (raigo) is represented; Amida Buddha is one of the leading gods of Buddhism whose cult enjoyed great power from the ninth century; he is usually shown, as here, descending to receive the adorer's soul, for he promises blissful and luxurious life in the next world; in the Mann painting he is accompanied by two divine attendants, the Bodhisattvas Sishi, shown adoring, and Kannon, shown with the Lotus Pedestal; similar but rather inferior figures to these appear in a celebrated early thirteenth century hanging scroll in the Senrin-ji, Kyoto; the Mann scroll is especially splendid not only for the refinement of its draughtsmanship, but for its color; on a muted black background, the figures are gold, the red lines of form being incisions through the gold leaf to the red ground; a light raw ochre halo surrounds Amida's head, the clouds are pale lavender; the use of color is thus austerely restricted, and there are only a few other touches Amida's lips are scarlet, there are pink and white ribbands and some of the precious stones of the jewelry are picked out in dull tints; the richness of the gold, especially against the black, makes for a stunning effect, and the precision of the tense, flowing drawing, incomparably skillful and delicate, can be contemplated with endless pleasure

Welcoming Descent of the Amida Buddha Triad, 13th century

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Followers of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism in Japan believe that, at the moment of death, Amida Buddha will descend from his paradise to receive the soul of a faithful follower. This painting depicts Amida floating downward on clouds. He is accompanied by the bodhisattva Seishi, whose hands are clasped in prayer, and Kannon, who holds a lotus upon which to receive the soul of the dying. The extreme refinement of the painting, rendered entirely in gold on indigo-dyed silk, is a hallmark of Buddhist imagery of Japan's Kamakura period (1185-1333).

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Japan, Descent of Amida (#154)
Details
Title
Welcoming Descent of the Amida Buddha Triad
Role
Artist
Accession Number
61.16
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the Buddhist art of the Kamakura period in Japan (1185-1392) is one of the great religious arts and this thirteenth century painting on silk mounted as a hanging scroll is an elegant and fine example; the Descent of Amida (raigo) is represented; Amida Buddha is one of the leading gods of Buddhism whose cult enjoyed great power from the ninth century; he is usually shown, as here, descending to receive the adorer's soul, for he promises blissful and luxurious life in the next world; in the Mann painting he is accompanied by two divine attendants, the Bodhisattvas Sishi, shown adoring, and Kannon, shown with the Lotus Pedestal; similar but rather inferior figures to these appear in a celebrated early thirteenth century hanging scroll in the Senrin-ji, Kyoto; the Mann scroll is especially splendid not only for the refinement of its draughtsmanship, but for its color; on a muted black background, the figures are gold, the red lines of form being incisions through the gold leaf to the red ground; a light raw ochre halo surrounds Amida's head, the clouds are pale lavender; the use of color is thus austerely restricted, and there are only a few other touches Amida's lips are scarlet, there are pink and white ribbands and some of the precious stones of the jewelry are picked out in dull tints; the richness of the gold, especially against the black, makes for a stunning effect, and the precision of the tense, flowing drawing, incomparably skillful and delicate, can be contemplated with endless pleasure