Aug 28, 2015

Heavenly King Virudhaka

Heavenly King Virudhaka



Hanging scroll, color on silk

Painting only: 110 x 75.2 cm (43 5/16 x 29 5/8 in.); Overall: 243 x 95 cm (95 11/16 x 37 3/8 in.)

Worcester R. Warner Collection 1918.544



Heavenly Kings are guardians who watch over the cardinal directions: north, south, west, and east. Sculptures or paintings of these guardian kings are often placed at the entrance or at the four corners of the altar or inner temple.

This king is the guardian of the south (Zengzhang tianwang, also called Virudhaka). His attribute is a sword carried in his right hand to protect the southern continent and the dharma, or Buddhist teaching. Associated with the color blue, his face is depicted in that color. His fearsome bulging eyes, the dark face, and his demonic attendants keep evil away.

This painting was recently restored by conservators of the museum’s Chinese painting conservation studio. They stabilized loose pigment and creases and replaced the silk mount. The Guardian’s legs are missing; the painting was cropped long before it entered the museum’s collection.

See also
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email