Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 95.3 x 50.2 cm (37 1/2 x 19 3/4 in.); Overall: 196.2 x 73.3 cm (77 1/4 x 28 7/8 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Warren H. Corning, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert F. Leisy, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar J. Lange, and Leon Fletcher, Jr. 1961.135
This hanging scroll illustrates a dramatic apparition of Buddha Amitābha (阿彌陀 in Chinese) and the two attendant bodhisattvas, or saintly beings, in the midst of colorful light and swirling clouds. The one who carries a miniature image of Amitābha in its jeweled crown is Avalokiteśvara (觀音 in Chinese); and the other who carries a flower vase is Mahāsthāmaprāpta (大勢至 in Chinese).
Previously, this work was identified as a rare example of a Korean Buddhist painting from the early Joseon period. In contrast to surviving Korean works from this time the scroll stands out for its fine details. Elements such as the striped almond-shaped halo that encircles the main Buddha, firm red lines that define each deity’s facial features, and the naturalistic rendition of flowing garments identifies it as an excellent example of early Ming period Chinese Buddhist painting.
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