Hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and cut-out gold on silk
Image: 33 15/16 x 15 1/4 in. (86.2 x 38.7 cm)
Overall with mounting: 64 1/4 x 19 1/2 in. (163.2 x 49.5 cm)
Overall with knobs: 65 1/2 x 22 in. (166.4 x 55.9 cm)
Purchase, Charles Wrightsman Gift, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, Dodge, Pfeiffer and Rogers Funds, and funds from various donors, 1972
Not on view
The bodhisattva Kannon is closely associated with the Buddha of Infinite Light, Amida Nyorai, who vowed to save all sentient beings by bringing them to his Pure Land in the West. This role is indicated in the iconography of his adornment. The crown and rays of light that emanate in all directions from his golden form recall Kannon’s role as the principal attendant to the Amida Buddha (Sanskrit: Amitābha) in visions of descent (raigō). Here, the bodhisattva comes alone to meet the believer, appearing on a cloud as though traveling in haste from his paradise in the southern ocean, called Mount Fudaraka (Sanskrit: Potalaka). His right hand, open to bestow compassion, is encircled by crystal prayer beads, and his left holds a lotus in a vase, representing the healing power of Buddhist law. Eleven diminutive heads atop his own signal the manifold ways he appears to hear, observe, and meet every need. The haloed topmost head is that of Amida.