Sutra, Scroll XVII of the Hoke Kyo (Lotus) Sutra

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Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1666
Ink, color, gold, and silver on indigo paper
H x W (calligraphy): 21.2 x 325.7 cm (8 3/8 x 128 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Buddhism, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, Lotus Sutra, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

This scroll of the Lotus Sutra, known in Japanese as Myohorengekyo, contains the text of chapter 17, which describes how converts attained degrees of merit after hearing the teachings of Buddha. The text is written with gold ink in regulated lines of seventeen characters, using a formal style of script that was customarily chosen for sacred scriptures.

Lavishly decorated in gold, silver, and color,  this scroll belongs to a set of commissioned for the Tokugawa family to commemorate the anniversary of the death of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu (1604-1651). The rich border decoration features gold pigment and gold leaf that has been precisely applied to the indigo-dyed paper. The distinctive trefoil crest of the Tokugawa family marks the end of the rollers and outside cover.

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