Buddha of Medicine Bhaishajyaguru (Yaoshi fo)

Period: Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Date: ca. 1319

Culture: China

Medium: Water-based pigment over foundation of clay mixed with straw

Dimensions: H. 24 ft. 8 in. (751.8 cm); W. 49 ft. 7 in. (1511.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Arthur M. Sackler, in honor of his parents, Isaac and Sophie Sackler, 1965

Accession Number: 65.29.2

Description

Healing practices, physical and spiritual, played an important role in the transmission of Buddhism throughout Asia. In this mural, Bhaishajyaguru (Yaoshi fo), the Buddha of medicine, wears a red robe and is attended by a large assembly of related deities, including two seated bodhisattvas who hold symbols for the sun and the moon. The twelve warriors, six at each side, symbolize the Buddha’s vows to help others. The robust, full-faced figure and the shallow spatial construction are characteristic of the work of Zhu Haogu, who was active in the early fourteenth century and painted both Buddhist and Daoist imagery.

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