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 Gyōsai zu
Related Objects

Urashima Taro Riding on Spirit Tortoise

Artist: In the style of Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: 18th–19th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 57.70.4 On view in:Not on view

Frolicking Figures and Animals

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: 19th century Medium: Handscroll; wash drawing Accession: 37.119.1 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

Figure Sketches

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: 19th century Medium: Handscroll; ink on paper Accession: 37.119.2 On view in:Not on view

Sketch of Three Drinking Scenes

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889) Date: 19th century Medium: Ink on paper Accession: 37.138 On view in:Not on view