Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Shakyamuni Conquering the Demons (Shaka Gōma-zu)

Artist:
Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889)
Period:
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Date:
ca. 1888
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Album leaf mounted as a hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
14 1/2 x 11 in. (36.8 x 27.9 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Charles Stewart Smith Collection, Gift of Mrs. Charles Stewart Smith, Charles Stewart Smith Jr., and Howard Caswell Smith, in memory of Charles Stewart Smith, 1914
Accession Number:
14.76.61.51
Not on view
This scene probably depicts an episode from the life of Shaka (Skt: Sakyamuni), the historical Buddha, the attack of the demon king Mara. Shaka Buddha was able however, to defeat Mara and his army and thus attain enlightenment. Some pictorial elements modify the conventional iconography: a flaming dragon replaces the demonic human figure usually representing Mara; a rock cave stands in for the bodhi tree as a place of contemplation; and Buddha's hand is in the prayer gesture. Traditional pictorial elements for representing the historical Buddha in this 19th century painting are the tuft between Buddha's brows (urna) and the cranial bump on his head (usnisa). This complex presentation of Buddha's enlightenment contains elements familiar from other Buddhist iconic representations, for instance, the outdoor settings of Buddha Descending the Mountain (Shussan Shaka) or of Rakan, who is often represented as is Shaka in this album leaf, with a dragon.

The painter, Kyōsai was one of the few Meiji painters whose paintings were collected and appreciated in the West. The powerful subject matter of this painting contrasts with the refined execution of very fine gold on silk.
Signature: Jokū Kyōsai zu
Related Objects

Illustrated Journal

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: 1887 or 1888 Medium: Album of 29 leaves; ink and color on paper Accession: JIB53 On view in:Not on view

Sketches of Kyōsai

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: 1881 Medium: Woodblock printed book; ink and color on paper Accession: JIB143 On view in:Not on view

Sketches Reproduced from Works of Famous Artists

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: 1814 Medium: Ink and color on paper Accession: JIB104a, b On view in:Not on view

Crow Resting on Wood Trunk

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Medium: Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper Accession: JP3153 On view in:Not on view

Crow and Willow Tree

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: November 1887 Medium: Album leaf; ink and color on silk Accession: 14.76.61.36 On view in:Not on view