Shaka-nyorai (Śākya-muni) preaching at Ryōju-sen (Gṛdhra-kūta) mountain


Shaka-nyorai (Śākya-muni) preaching at Ryōju-sen (Gṛdhra-kūta) mountain

Textiles / Nara

Nara period or Tong dynasty, China, 8th century

Silk, embroidered

H 207.0, W 157.0


Formerly kept in Kajū-ji temple, Kyoto


This is a large embroidered work known by the name Embroidered screen in Kajū-ji temple. Shaka-nyorai (Śākyamuni or Buddha), who is sitting on a lion-seat under the canopy and holy trees, is described in the center. This image of Shaka-nyorai is surrounded by Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) figures, ten disciples, and common human beings. In the sky, Buddhist deities are performing music on the clouds, and other divine figures are riding on flying birds. This is probably a scene of Shaka’s preaching on Mt. Ryōju-Sen (Gṛdhrakūṭa). The embroidery was rendered with twisted threads on a thick plain-silk fabric. Chain stitches and sagara-knots cover the entire surface of the cloth. Bold type and fine type of threads of various colors are used effectively in the embroidered scene.
Both the design and technique reflect the Chinese style of the Tang dynasty, but the arrangement of color gradation is slightly different from the Chinese style. It is possible that this screen was made during the early Nara period when embroidered screens were often made for the decoration of the walls within temple buildings. This screen is one of the most excellent masterpieces of the old textile works reflecting a graceful taste.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, pp.104-105, no.80.

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