Handscroll, gold ink on indigo sutra paper
Image: 27.8 x 81 cm (10 15/16 x 31 7/8 in.); Inscription overall: 27.9 x 1044.9 cm (11 x 411 3/8 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1970.64
The frontispiece of this sutra, a sacred Buddhist scripture, illustrates episodes mentioned in the Buddha’s teaching. The sutra begins with a description of the historic Buddha Shakyamuni’s assembly on Vulture Peak.
On the right, the Buddha sits amid members of his congregation: lohans (or arhats), bodhisattvas, gods, and other beings. The narrative proceeds from right to left. Heavenly light emanates from Shakyamuni’s brow to “illuminate the eighteen thousand worlds to the east.” Illustrated immediately below the ray is the sutra’s promise that if anyone carves or paints images of the Buddha “they will achieve the Buddha path.”
The female figures in the frontispiece point to another promise made in this popular Mahayana school sutra, namely that female devotees and nuns who read the sutra are promised Buddhahood and salvation.
The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.