白衣観音図White-Robed Kannon,

Japan

The painted dragon and tiger, animals symbolic of yin and yang in Chinese iconography, form a triptych with a serene figure of the Buddhist deity Kannon (Sanskrit: Avalokiteshvara) in a white robe. Monochrome ink paintings of Kannon were important in the religious life of the earliest Zen temples of Muromachi Japan. The bodhisattva, embodying the concept of merciful compassion, is represented here in a casual pose and natural setting that emphasize his humanity rather than his role as deified intercessor for a faithful devotee.

There are many similar triptychs that combine secular subjects, such as the dragon and the tiger, with a central Buddhist image. Such triptychs were often hung in the tokonoma (alcove) of official rooms, an architectural feature suited for displaying prized Chinese-style art that developed in Japanese interiors during the fourteenth century.

Not on view

Public Domain

Object Details

Period: Muromachi period (1392–1573)

Date: 15th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on silk

Dimensions: Image: 32 7/8 in. × 71 in. (83.5 × 180.3 cm)
71 1/2 × 21 7/8 in. (181.6 × 55.6 cm)
Overall with knobs: 71 × 24 in. (180.3 × 61 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Gift, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.124

Audio

For Audio Guide tours and information, visit metmuseum.org/audioguide.
Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies
Signature: Unsigned and with no seals
[ Christie's, New York , November 30, 1983, Chinese Paintings, lot 365, to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Manifestations of the Merciful Bodhisattva: Kannon," 1989.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," November 5, 1991–December 15, 1992.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Immortals and Sages: Fusuma Paintings from Ryoan-Ji and the Lore of China in Japanese Art," 1993.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art, Part II," May 1, 1996–September 8, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Blossoms of Many Colors: A Selection from the Permanent Collection of Japanese Art," March 21, 2000–August 9, 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sense of Place: Landscape in Japanese Art," May 8, 2002–September 8, 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 Mighty Kano School: Orthodoxy and Iconoclasm," December 18, 2004–June 5, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Autumn and Winter," June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006.

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.

Asian Art (36,187)