Shakyamuni under the Bodhi Tree

Shakyamuni under the Bodhi Tree


Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk

Painting: 128.5 x 62 cm (50 9/16 x 24 7/16 in.); Overall with knobs: 259 x 82.5 cm (101 15/16 x 32 1/2 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1971.68

Did you know?

Shakyamuni achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha while meditating under a bodhi tree.


The historical Buddha Shakyamuni is seated in meditative posture upon the backs of three demons under the bodhi tree, where he achieved enlightenment. Because the position of Shakyamuni's hands do not conform to any accepted gesture, the specific religious event portrayed is unclear. The use of brilliant colors and archaism expressed in the rendering of the tree’s gnarled bark, the grotesque demons and stylized flowers in the foreground suggest an artist following the eccentric style of Chen Hongshou (1598-1652).

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