Welcoming Descent of Amida Buddha and Twenty-five Bodhisattvas


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 224

According to Pure Land Buddhist belief, Amida Buddha (Amitabha) welcomes devotees to his paradise, the Western Pure Land, where they can achieve perfect spiritual development. Paintings such as this one, which represent Amida descending to meet the faithful at the moment of death, attended by a host of bodhisattvas, are known as raigō-zu ("welcoming descent pictures"). According to the inscription on the back of this work, it was commissioned by Oikawa Zen'emon, a resident of the eastern outskirts of the capital of Edo (now Tokyo), to commemorate his wife's death in 1668. She is depicted in the lower right corner, being received by the holy retinue, which will transport her to the Pure Land. The inscription suggests that both knobs of the scroll's lower roller bar contain cremated human remains, including those of Mrs. Oikawa. The metal roller knobs are designed with small windows that allow visual access to the relics.

Welcoming Descent of Amida Buddha and Twenty-five Bodhisattvas, Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk, Japan

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