Prince Shotoku (Shotoku Taishi) and attendants

Historical period(s)
Kamakura period, 13th century
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (image): 110.3 × 73.1 cm (43 7/16 × 28 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the Parnassus Foundation, courtesy of Jane and Raphael Bernstein; Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Pearl; Jeffrey P. Cunard; and the Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

attendant, Buddhism, filial piety, incense, Japan, kakemono, Kamakura period (1185 - 1333), portrait, prince, sutra, WWII-era provenance

Baron Kuki Ryuichi (1852-1931), Japan [1]

To 2001
Takashi Yanagi, Kyoto, to 2001

From 2001
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Takashi Yanagi in 2001


[1] According to Curatorial Note 2, James T. Ulak, April 13, 2001, in the object record.

Previous Owner(s)

Takashi Yanagi
Baron Kuki Ryūichi 1852-1931


Prince Shotoku (574–622) was a Japanese leader renowned for his efforts at national unification as well as for sponsoring the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. In the centuries after his death, a strong cult following produced important religious devotional images in both painting and sculptural formats. The sixteen-year-old prince, bearing an incense burner and garbed in Buddhist vestments, is flanked by two attendants; one carries a rolled sutra. Enveloped in these symbols of ascendant Buddhist power, the young prince pays respect to his dying father, Emperor Yomei (reigned 585–87). Here the new order is represented by a self-possessed young prince, who nevertheless honors his origins. This image of the prince is considered the most important example of its kind in a Western collection.

Published References
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 174-175.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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