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Set of three hanging scrolls, ink and color on silk
Painting: 106.9 x 46.4 cm (42 1/16 x 18 1/4 in.); Overall with knobs: 192 x 66.7 cm (75 9/16 x 26 1/4 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2009.342
This triptych is based on the Lotus Sutra, the only Buddhist scripture that welcomes female worshippers.
This triptych is a rare example of Yuan Buddhist painting. It depicts the historic Buddha Shakyamuni flanked by two attending bodhisattvas, Manjushri (the bodhisattva of wisdom, riding a lion) and Samantabhadra (the bodhisattva of universal virtue, riding an elephant). Included in the symmetrical configuration are also the two disciples of the Buddha, Ananada and Kasyapa, two foreigners who attend the bodhisattvas’ lion and elephant, and a youth and a female worshipper, all of whom seek enlightenment from the bohisattvas.
The clouds above and around the divine beings form one scene that illustrates Shakyamuni’s sermon from the Lotus Sutra. This text became an important basis for Buddhist faith throughout East Asia and was central to the Mahayana school of Buddhism.
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