Japanese / Achala Vidyaraja (Fudo Myo-o) with Two Attendants / Kamakura period, early 14th centuryJapanese
Achala Vidyaraja (Fudo Myo-o) with Two Attendants
Kamakura period, early 14th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: Japanese
Title: Achala Vidyaraja (Fudo Myo-o) with Two Attendants
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1300
Creation End Date: 1333
Creation Date: Kamakura period, early 14th century
Creation Place: Japan
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: Ink, color, and gold on silk
Parts and Pieces: hanging scroll
Dimensions: 72 x 45 in. (182.9 x 114.3 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.209
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Rights: http://www.asiasociety.org
Context: The introduction of Buddhism to Japan was one of the most important events in Japanese history and had a lasting effect on the development of its thought, art, and culture. According to Japanese sources, Buddhism was introduced from the Korean kingdom of Paekche in either 538 or 552 as part of a series of diplomatic exchanges that also led to a broader awareness of the beliefs and material culture of China and Korea. This large, powerful painting of Achala Vidyaraja with two young attendants illustrates the style of art popular at the end of the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Achala Vidyaraja is one of the many Buddhist deities introduced to Japan during the Heian period (794-1185) as part of the imagery associated with Esoteric Buddhism. Achala, whose name means "immovable," is one of a group of five wisdom kings or vidyarajas, each of whom represents the powers of one of the five buddhas who symbolize the five divisions of the Diamond World (Vajradhatu). Achala Vidyaraja, the most important of the five wisdom kings, represents the powers of Vairochana Buddha. Here Achala is seated with one leg folded over the other on an elaborate many-tiered platform and surrounded by swirling flames. He has a blue body, holds a sword with a double-vajra hilt and a lasso, and wears elaborate jewelry. He is shown with two of his ten young male attendants. Achala's form and clothing are full and heavy, and this sense of volume helps to distinguish this painting from earlier Kamakura-period works. The use of broad black outlines to define the form of the wisdom king, the weight of his jewelry, and the treatment of the decoration of his lower garment help date this painting to the early 14th century. Achala's red garment is decorated with geometric designs and floral roundels in cut gold leaf, similar to but larger in scale than similar motifs in earlier works.

A long inscription on the back of this painting states that it was remounted in 1596 and 1780 and that it was once in the collection of the Jizoin at the Kampozan monastery. A Shingon monastery of that name was built in Nagoya in 1728, and it seems likely that this painting was once in its possession.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 94.
Related Document Description: Fisher, Robert E. Buddhist Art and Architecture. London: Thames and Hudson, 1993, pp. 151-52.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.209
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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