The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Not on view
This handscroll depicts hand gestures known as mudras in Sanskrit, the Indian language in which many early Esoteric Buddhist texts were written. In Japan the gestures are called insō, the Japanese term for a Chinese word that combines the characters for "seal" and "form."
In Esoteric Buddhism mudras are physical enactments of ultimate truths revealed through the Buddhas and other deities. Practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism in Japan form mudras during meditation and rituals and use them to interpret the meaning of painted and sculpted Buddhist images. These scrolls were passed down in the Kyoto temple Shōren-in, a Tendai School temple traditionally administrated by imperial princes who had taken religious vows.
[ Harry G. C. Packard , Tokyo, until 1975; donated and sold to MMA].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human and Not-So-Human Figure in Japanese Art," 1996.
Honolulu Academy of Arts. "Eternal Presence: Handprints and Footprints in Buddhist Art," January 26, 2005–May 29, 2005.
New York. Rubin Museum of Art. "Eternal Presence: Handprints and Footprints in Buddhist Art," June 14, 2005–September 4, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars," June 18, 2009–November 30, 2009.