VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Kujaku Myôô
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The body of the Myôô is white, to which faint pink has been applied in places. It is outlined in vermilion. His clearly-shaded, contoured robes are in colors including peach, orange, vermilion, and green. Moreover, gold foil has been cut thinly and applied as lines to the robes, which are also studded with patterns of delicate cut gold (J. kirikane). Cut gold is also employed in his adornments and elsewhere. The peacock and the mandorla are painted with various opaque colors including green, blue, vermilion, and gold. This excellent and beautifully refined technique of color application was developed during the Insei era at the end of the Heian period (794-1185).

History of the Object
Kujaku Myôô (Skt. Mahamayuri vidyaraja) is the deified form of a peacock that eats poisonous snakes and insects. He is represented here in a compassionate form, an aspect unusual for Radiant Wisdom Kings (Skt. Vidyaraja, J. Myôô). Kujaku Myôô is the principal deity of an esoteric Buddhist ritual based on the Kujaku Myôô sutras that is performed to bring or stop rain, to ward off calamities, and so on. The Myôô sits on a peacock with a wide plume of tail feathers. In the first right hand he holds a lotus flower, and in the second right a fruit that resembles a watermelon. In his first left hand is a pomegranate, and in the second left five peacock feathers. The picture plane is filled with the Myôô and the peacock presented in full frontal pose, together with the jewelled vases placed in the four corners. In some respects, this is much like the painting style of a mandala and displays the traditional composition of works brought from China by the founder of the Shingon sect, Kûkai (774-835).

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Color on silk, 1(hanging scroll) 
Measurements
Width 98.9cm Height 147.9cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 12th century ~ AD 12th century 
Creation date
12th Century; Heian Period 
Function
artwork 
Acquisition
It is the current policy of the Tokyo National Museum not to publish the acquisition history of its collection on the Internet. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
National Treasure 
Owner
Tokyo National Museum 
Museum
Tokyo National Museum 
Credit line
Tokyo National Museum 

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