Art/ Collection/ Art Object

범천왕을 중심으로 한 신중도 조선
神衆圖 朝鮮
Brahma with attendants and musicians

Artist:
Unidentified Artist
Period:
Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)
Date:
late 16th century
Culture:
Korea
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on hemp
Dimensions:
Image: 85 × 87 in. (215.9 × 221 cm) Overall with mounting: 132 × 97 in. (335.3 × 246.4 cm) Overall with knobs: 132 × 101 3/4 in. (335.3 × 258.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, 1921
Accession Number:
21.57
Not on view
Originally a Hindu deity, Brahma (Korean: Beomcheon) was incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon and, along with the Hindu god Indra (Korean: Jeseok), became the protector of Buddhist teachings. The Brahma heaven was interpreted as a place of pleasure filled with entertainers and musicians. In this work, lithe figures playing instruments, such as a mouth organ, a long transverse flute, a two-stringed violin, a four-stringed lute with a crooked neck, wood clappers, and a triangular wind instrument made of clay, surround the towering Brahma at center. Ceremonial fans and bejeweled canopies held by assistants in the top row float above the festive scene.

Buddhist paintings on hemp were commissioned by non-royals, while members of the elite favored silk. Regardless of material, Buddhist paintings from the early Joseon period are rare because of the official suppression of Buddhism and promotion of neo-Confucian ideology.

When Mrs. Harkness gave this work to the Met in 1921, it was thought to be either Chinese or Korean. Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Harkness also collected and donated European decorative art and Egyptian art.
Related Objects

Mandala of Vajradhara, Manjushri and Sadakshari -Lokeshvara

Date: dated 1479 Medium: Tangka; ink, opaque watercolor on gold Accession: 1985.392.2 On view in:Not on view

Maharana Sangram Singh II Hunts Hares at Naramangra

Date: ca. 1720–30 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: 1996.45 On view in:Not on view

Towing a Boat in a Rainstorm

Date: late 12th century Medium: Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on silk Accession: 47.18.83 On view in:Not on view

Bhadra, The Sixth Luohan

Date: dated 1345 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 47.18.103 On view in:Not on view

Man Sleeping on a Bamboo Couch

Medium: Album leaf; ink and color on silk Accession: 47.18.147 On view in:Not on view