Welcoming Descent of Amitabha (Amida), Avalokiteshvara (Kannon), and Mahasthamaprapta (Seishi)

Painted in colors and gold with kirigane (cut gold leaf). No signature or seal. Silk panel.

Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (image): 113.1 × 49.6 cm (44 9/16 × 19 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Amitabha Buddha, Buddhism, Japan, kakemono, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), Pure Land, reincarnation, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

Painted in colors and gold with kirigane (cut gold leaf). No signature or seal. Silk panel.


Japanese belief in salvation by the Buddha of Infinite Light, known in Japanese as Amida, expanded during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) through the teachings of evangelistic monks. Paintings like this one illustrate the descent of the Buddha Amida, accompanied by two attendant bodhisattvas (enlightened beings) known in Japanese as Kannon and Seishi. Such images were often brought by Buddhist priests to the home of a dying believer and displayed to provide a beautiful and reassuring image of the Buddha Amida's descent to earth to carry the soul back to the Pure Land. In that paradise, the soul would be free from endless cycles of birth, suffering, and rebirth. A golden lotus to receive the soul immediately after death is held in the hands of the bodhisattva Kannon. Clouds support the deities as they descend toward earth on their journey from the Pure Land.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage conditions apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.