Iconographic Drawing of Saturn


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 223

Rituals dedicated to the stars and planets were introduced to Japan from China in the ninth century together with Esoteric Buddhist teachings. Doyō (Sanskrit: Shanaishchara), or the planet Saturn, is one of the Nine Luminaries (Sanskrit: Navagraha) of the stellar system as originally defined in early Indian texts that were later incorporated into Buddhism. In China, Buddhist understandings of the heavens were intertwined with Daoist beliefs. Here, the planet is illustrated as an old man with a bull’s head atop his own, dressed in a flowing robe. Now mounted as a hanging scroll, the iconographic drawing once formed part of a handscroll including representations of other celestial bodies.

Iconographic Drawing of Saturn, Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.