This painting is a manifestation of the transmission of Hossō-school teachings from India and China to Japan. One of the eight earliest Buddhist schools, Hossō (Faxiang in Chinese; Dharmalakshana in Sanskrit) was founded by the great monk Genjō (Xuanzang in Chinese; 596–664) and his eminent disciple Kiki, also known as Jion Daishi (Guiji in Chinese; 632–682).
As the legendary founder of the Hossō sect, Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya Bodhisattva) is enshrined as the central deity, facing forward. Depicted against a lozenge-grid background are twenty-three patriarchs of the Hossō school in three-quarter view, arranged symmetrically in two groups, flanking the central image. Each of them can be identified with a name written in a cartouche next to the image. Chinese and Japanese priests appear below the Indian patriarchs. All of the figures are portrayed wearing detailed and colorful garments in a schematic manner that suggests a date of the second half of the sixteenth century for this work.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Graceful Gestures: A Decade of Collecting Japanese Art," September 29, 2001–March 10, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Tribute to a Dedicated Collector: Mary Griggs Burke," June 30, 2004–November 29, 2004.
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. "Landscapes in Japanese Art," June 24, 2010–November 7, 2010.