Shaka (Shakyamuni), The Historical Buddha, Descending from the Mountains


Not on view

Shaka renounced the world and went into the mountains to become an ascetic at the age of twenty-nine. Unable to reach enlightenment after six years of rigorous austerities, he departed in disillusionment. He resolved to continue his search not by challenging his physical endurance but through disciplined meditation—a moment that developed importance only among Zen Buddhists.

This picture is modeled after a work by a little-known thirteenth-century Chinese painter of religious figures, Yan Hui. Introduced to Japan by the late fourteenth century, his art proved influential among Japanese painter-monks in Buddhist monasteries. Numerous paintings in Japan, including this one, have been attributed to Yan Hui himself—more as a form of stylistic categorization than as an indication of actual authorship

Shaka (Shakyamuni), The Historical Buddha, Descending from the Mountains, Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, Japan

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