Arhat (Hottara Sonja – Vajraputra) (One of a set with F1904.295 through F1904.311)

Artist: Ryōzen (ca. 1328-ca. 1360)
Historical period(s)
Nanbokucho period, mid-14th century
Ink, color and gold on silk
H x W (image): 114 × 59.7 cm (44 7/8 × 23 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Arhat, Buddhism, dragon, halo, Japan, kakemono, Nanbokucho period (1333 - 1392), Vajraputra

Shibata Zeshin (1807-1895), purchased from Sanseizenji temple, Kyoto, 1855

Mr. Shibata, from his father, Shibata Zeshin, to 1904 [1]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Mr. Shibata, through Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), in 1904 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Accession List for purchase information, as well as the folder for F1904.295. See also, Original Kakemono and Makimono List, S.I. 8, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. One of a set of sixteen: F1904.295-F1904.310. Also see F1904.311-F1904.313.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Mr. Shibata (C.L. Freer source)
Shibata Zeshin 1807-1891
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


This painting comes from a set that depicts the sixteen arhats (rakan in Japanese) who were the original followers of the Buddha in India.  The arhats have attained enlightenment, which has freed them from continuous cycles of birth and rebirth; they remain in the world to protect the Buddhist Law.  For special ceremonies, a painting of the Buddha was displayed at the center of two ranks of eight paintings or arhats.  The arhats shown here are accompanied by a tiger and a dragon, animals that, in East Asian Buddhism, represent cosmic polarities that can be overcome through Buddhist meditation and practice.

Published References
  • Butsuga Ruijyuu. vol. 1, Japan. .
  • Zaigai hiho (Japanese Paintings in Western Collections). 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2, pt. II, p. 45.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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