Art/ Collection/ Art Object

南宋 佚名 阿彌陀如來圖 軸
Buddha Amitabha descending from his Pure Land

Unidentified Artist , active 13th century
Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)
13th century
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 53 1/2 in. × 23 in. (135.9 × 58.4 cm) Overall with mounting: 95 3/4 × 31 3/4 in. (243.2 × 80.6 cm) Overall with knobs: 95 3/4 × 33 1/2 in. (243.2 × 85.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Dillon Fund Gift, 1980
Accession Number:
Not on view
This painting, traditionally ascribed by Japanese scholars to a Song Buddhist painter named Zhang Sigong, represents the Buddha Amitabha (J.: Amida) welcoming souls into his Western Paradise. The drapery of the robe is drawn in the "scudding-cloud and running-water" style, a drapery pattern the Chinese used to recall the Indian origin of the Buddha image.

Infrared reflectography has revealed the following traces of an inscription in the lower left corner: "Qingyuanfu, east of Washing Horse Bridge. . . ." Since the name of the city of Ningbo was changed from Mingzhou to Qingyuanfu in 1195 and to Qingyuanlu in 1277, the painting may be dated to between 1195 and 1277. Stylistically, this work appears to date from the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century: the figure is extremely well drawn, with fine lines firmly describing the splendid face and hands of the image in a fully three-dimensional manner. An almost identical Buddha appears in one of the Daitokuji Five Hundred Luohans paintings, also made in Ningbo and dated 1178.
Inscription: Artist inscription (1 column in standard script)


Artist’s seal

1 illegible
Private collection, Japan (until sale, Sotheby’s New York, Chinese Paintings, June 17, 1980, lot 23, to MMA)
New York. Asia Society. "The Story of a Painting: The Korean Buddhist Treasure from the Burke Foundation," April 23, 1991–July 28, 1991.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Traditional Scholarly Values at the End of the Qing Dynasty: The Collection of Weng Tonghe (1830–1904)," June 30, 1998–January 3, 1999.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Millennium of Chinese Painting: Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," September 8, 2001–January 13, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan II," March 22, 2003–September 21, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty," September 28, 2010–January 2, 2011.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection I," October 31, 2015–October 11, 2016.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection II," May 7, 2016–October 11, 2016.

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