Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Scroll 9 of Collected Iconography (Zuzōshō): Ten (Devas)

Kamakura period (1185–1333)
13th century
Handscroll; ink and color on paper
12 in. x 53 ft. 3 1/8 in. (30.5 x 1623.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Accession Number:
Not on view
Sketchlike drawings of Buddhist deities in ink and/or light colors played a vital role in transmitting the complex iconography of the multitude of deities who make up the Mikkyō (Esoteric) pantheon. As it is identified on the outside of the scroll, this work contains images of the deva kings (ten in Japanese). Also inscribed on the outside is the scroll's provenance—Kanchi-in, a subtemple of Tōji in Kyoto, an especially rich depository of Esoteric Buddhist images. Included in the scroll are images and descriptions of twenty-four deities, including Shitennō, the guardians of the four cardinal directions, and Jūniten, the Twelve Deva Kings. The deities are identified in the texts preceding their images, which give their names in Chinese characters, their Sanskrit names, seed letters symbolizing their particular virtues, and their special attributes. Monks who later examined the scroll provided punctuation marks and brief commentaries in red ink for the benefit of fellow monks and disciples.
Kanchi-in, a subtemple of Tōji in Kyoto

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