Amida Raigō-zu


Nambokuchō period, 14th century
Hanging scroll, colour on silk
H. 86.8 cm; W. 38.9 cm (H.162.6 cm; W.55.9 cm)

On the backside of the scroll, “慧心筆“(painted by Eshin) is written.

Three figures are descending from the upper. Kan’non Bosatsu (Avalokiteśvara) is standing ahead holding out a lotus pedestal to save the soul being reborn. Seishi Bosatsu (Mahāsthāmaprāpta) leans forward with hands clasped in prayer, inclining toward the soul being reborn. Behind these two figures, a standing figure of Amida Nyorai with hands in the raigō mudrā rides on a cloud. They are coming to meet a dying person. There three figures thus form a raigō (literally “come to pick up”) image.

The bodies of the three deities and the lines of halo were probably painted in gold paint layered on top of a tan red pigment ground, but it has all gone with age and the details of their figures are then picked out in cinnabar lines. This considerable use of gold paint is characteristic of Buddhist paintings in the Kamakura and later periods. The glorious openwork nimbus which resembles a sculpted form is also depicted in gold paint.
The painting lines of three figures are extremely fine and the expression of the faces is sublimely beautiful.