Portrait of Fujiwara no Kamatari (614-669), accompanied by two sons

Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, 15th century
Medium
Ink, color, and gold on silk
Dimensions
H x W (image): 84.9 × 38.5 cm (33 7/16 × 15 3/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1965.1a-d
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Keywords
Japan, kakemono, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573), portrait, Shinto, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Label

This portrait of the Japanese aristocrat Fujiwara no Kamatari (614- 669) and his two sons is a religious icon. It represents Kamatari in the setting of an enshrined Shinto deity, with the shrine's curtains pulled back and three sacred mirrors overhead. Wearing formal black robes and carrying a baton that symbolizes his rank and authority, he sits in front of a screen painted with wisteria (fuji), an emblem of his family. Worship of Kamatari as a Shinto god (kami) began shortly after his death and continues today near Nara City where his sons, depicted smaller here because they are not gods, enshrined his remains. Kamatari was revered as a protector of legitimate imperial rule and as the ancestor of the powerful Fujiwara family.

Published References
  • Shimazu Auction Catalogue: November 26, 1928., 1928. pl. 13.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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