National TreasureFûten (Skt., Vayu)

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  • Height: 144.0cm Width: 127.0cm
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • A甲283-3

Futen (“wind deva”) is one of the Twelve Devas that were made in 1127 to be hung at the annual New Year’s ceremony of esoteric prayers, the “Latter Seven Day’s Rite” (J., Goshichinichi no mishiho), held in the Shingon-in Hall at the Imperial Palace. The scrolls were originally owned by Kyoogokoku-ji (To-ji) Temple.
The twelve devas are the guardians of the four quarters and four semi-quarters, up and down, and the sun and moon. Futen guards the northwestern direction. As the god of wind, he holds a scepter of the wind in his right hand. He is depicted as an old man. The elongated petals on the hosoge flower and arabesque patterns emanate a sense of dignified substance. Heavy layers of color on the face, large-scale patterns, sophisticated brushwork, and a double-layered nimbus all contribute to the uniquenes of this elaborate Futen. Such stylistic features suggest that it was painted in 1040 as part of an earlier set.