Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Life of the Buddha: Abandoning Palace Life

Period:
Muromachi period (1392–1573)
Date:
early 15th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Section of a wall panel mounted as a hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk
Dimensions:
29 1/2 x 43 7/8 in. (75 x 111.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. Alvin E. Friedman-Kien, 1993
Accession Number:
1993.478.5
Not on view
This scroll depicts Prince Shakyamuni abandoning palace life after encountering human suffering. At the lower right, Shakyamuni's father, King Shuddhodana, asks women to dance and play musical instruments to entice the prince to remain. The identities of the two women inside the palace and the image of the Buddha ascending on a cloud remain problematic. Judging by the palatial surroundings, the two women could be Shakyamuni's wife, Yashodara, and her lady-in-waiting, in which case the ascending Buddha would signify Shakyamuni's departure from the palace to pursue enlightenment.
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