Important Cultural PropertyShakamuni (Skt. Śākyamuni) Preaching at Vulture Peak

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  • 絹本著色釈迦霊鷲山説法図
  • 1 hanging scroll
  • Ink and colors on silk Hanging scroll
  • H 159.8, W 79.7
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1305(絵258)

  This painting represents a scene where Shakamuni (Skt. Śākyamuni) preaches while various bodhisattvas, the Ten Greatest Disciples, the Four Heavenly Kings and various heavenly beings are listening at Vulture Peak located outside the Rajgir in the Kingdom of Magadha in ancient India (Tenjiku) known to be Shakamuni’s Heavenly Land. The mountain range of Vulture Peak is represented in the background and many scenes from the natural landscape are represented in the foreground. Various Buddhist deities, including Shakamuni, are drawn based on the style of Buddhist paintings established in the Heian period (794–1185) and the style of the Sung dynasty of China is also employed to create freshness and grace with a light touch. In terms of natural landscape, various geographical features such as mountains, rocks, mounds of earth, waterfalls and the water surface are included, and pine trees and blooming trees are also represented. The vivid color of blue green properly inherited from the expression of landscape paintings (sansui) that was developed based on the Tang style in the Heian period has a deep flavor as well as fine structures and a feeling of silence, while even representing the features of the Kamakura period (1185–1333). This part attains a considerable proportion and by reviewing other works, it is identified that this is not just a natural landscape but also a scene representing a path to Vulture Peak. This fact makes this painting not only a iconography of Shakamuni’s preaching, but also a unique painting representing adoration toward the heritage of Shakamuni.