Kobo Daishi (Kukai) as a Boy (Chigo Daishi)

A work made of hanging scroll; ink and color on silk.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of hanging scroll; ink and color on silk.

Date:

15th century

Artist:

Artist unknown
Japanese

About this artwork

Kukai (774–835) was an influential religious leader responsible for introducing Shingon Buddhism, a form of Esoteric Buddhism, to Japan in the ninth century. After his death, Kûkai received the name Kôbô Daishi (Great Teacher of the Divine Law) and was revered as a saint.

The inscription at the top of this painting is a quotation from the Goyuigo, a set of instructions believed to have been prepared by Kukai for his disciples. In the passage, Kukai describes a dream he had as a child in which he was carried aloft on an eight-petaled lotus flower to a heavenly realm where he conversed with various Buddhas. The practice of depicting religious leaders as children during miraculous moments in their lives would have been keenly reassuring to Buddhist devotees.

Currently Off View

Asian Art

Title

Kobo Daishi (Kukai) as a Boy (Chigo Daishi)

Origin

Japan

Date

1400–1499

Medium

Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk

Dimensions

86.7 x 48.9 cm (34 1/8 x 19 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Joseph and Helen Regenstein Foundation

Reference Number

1959.552

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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