Priest, c. 1811-1820

Ink on paperexpand_more

Bequest of Richard P. Galeexpand_more  74.1.316

Not on Viewexpand_more

Prayer beads, or rosaries, are used in many religious traditions as aids for prayer and recitation. In this drawing by Hokusai, prayer beads are shown encircling the wrist of a Buddhist as he devotes himself to asceticisms near a waterfall. Buddhist practitioners use rosaries to count the repetitions of sacred texts and appeals. These rosaries are traditionally composed of 108 beads. Each bead represents a bonnō –a negative mental state such as jealousy or depression. Additionally, the number 108 holds astronomical significance as it is the product of the four phases of the moon and the twenty-seven constellations (4 x 27 = 108).

Artist Life
1760 - 1849
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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