Important Cultural PropertyFugen (Skt. Samantabhadra)

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  • 絹本著色普賢菩薩像
  • 1 hanging scroll
  • Hanging scroll; ink, colors and gold on silk, decorated with thin metal strips
  • H 62.0, W 30.7
  • Heian period/12th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1009(絵197)

Fugen Bosatsu is said to have gone everywhere to carry out "Shujo Saido" (the teachings that extricate all living creatures from uncertainty and suffering and instruct them how to attain enlightenment). In particular, the scene where Fugen Bosatsu shows up on a six-tusked white elephant and protects the Hokekyo followers is included in "Fugen Bosatsu Kanhotsu hon" of "Hokekyo" and many works based on the scene have been painted. One of the earliest examples is seen in the mural paintings of Kon-do in Horyu-ji Temple, many of which were painted in the period between the late Heian period and the Kamakura period when "Hokekyo" was actively practiced. Among which, this painting features a strong appeal to people's emotions, despite its small size.

Applying pale red color to the pale body of Bosatsu creates a soft and warm texture. The outlines are drawn with smooth curves in pale ink to represent the ample figure. Each part of the clothes is painted in various mild colors and the pleats are decorated with thin Kirikane (gold or silver foil cut into thin strips) as if drawing a curve. In addition, Bosatsu wears a Yoraku (a necklace like clothing accessory) covered by gold and silver foil over the whole body to add a shine, as well as make the outlines gentle. Fugen Bosatsu is surrounded by a calm atmosphere created by a Halo with patterns formed by a combination of Kirikane and silver foil mixed with gold foil and the Yoraku with silver leaf hanging from colorfully painted flower shaped Tengai.