Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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大威徳明王
Daiitoku Myōō

Period:
Heian period (794–1185)
Date:
12th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 28 1/4 x 21 1/8 in. (71.8 x 53.7 cm) Overall with mounting: 65 1/2 x 26 1/2 in. (166.4 x 67.3 cm) Overall with knobs: 65 1/2 x 28 1/2 in. (166.4 x 72.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
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:
1975.268.13
Not on view
Daiitoku Myōō (Sanskrit: Yamantaka) is one of the five Great Light Kings of Esoteric Buddhism. His Sanskrit name means "one who stops the power of the King of Hell." He is shown with multiple heads, eyes, legs, and arms. Four hands hold a trident, a wheel, a sword, and a jeweled club while two hands join, with only the middle finger extended, in the mudra of restraint (konpon-in). Introduced from China by Kūkai (774–836), the five Great Light Kings became important ritual icons called upon to protect the nation during the Sutra of the Benevolent Kings Assembly, which was performed on special occasions. This drawing is almost identical in form to an image of Daiitoku Myōō that appears in an iconographic scroll of deities from the Sutra of the Benevolent Kings (Ninnōkyō) imported by Kūkai and housed at the important esoteric temple Daigoji in Kyoto. The brief description next to the image probably serves as a record of the attributes of the deity.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," November 5, 1991–December 15, 1992.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blossoms of Many Colors: A Selection from the Permanent Collection of Japanese Art," March 21, 2000–August 9, 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Graceful Gestures: Two Decades of Collecting Japanese Art," 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Drama of Eyes and Hands: Sharaku's Portraits of Kabuki Actors," September 20, 2007–March 24, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars," June 18, 2009–November 30, 2009.

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