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1,212 media by topicpage 1 of 13

Marble pilaster with acanthus scrolls

The acanthus scroll that decorates the pilaster, presumably from a public building, is populated with a variety of birds. Such imagery is found on major imperial monuments at Rome, notably the Ara Pacis Augusta... more

Glass amphoriskos with band of scrolls

Translucent pale purple, with handle in translucent pale yellow green.Uneven tubular rim, folded out, over, and in; neck flaring downward; ovoid body; cylindrical base, with flat but uneven bottom; small rod ha... more

Marble acroterion with acanthus scrolls

This pair of reliefs once decorated the corner of a roof or high balustrade. They were set at right angles to each other, and at the corner joint a thick stalk would have emerged from a bed of floppy acanthus l... more

Marble corner acroterion with acanthus scrolls

This pair of reliefs once decorated the corner of a roof or high balustrade. They were set at right angles to each other, and at the corner joint a thick stalk would have emerged from a bed of floppy acanthus l... more

Glass amphoriskos with band of scrolls

Translucent pale streaky purple, with handles in translucent pale blue green.Rim folded out, down, round, and in, and pressed into sides of mouth; cylindrical neck; ovoid body; low cylindrical base, with concav... more

Glass amphoriskos with band of scrolls

Translucent purple; handles in same color.Rim folded out, over, and in, then smoothed into flaring mouth; cylindrical neck; ovoid body; cylindrical base, with flat bottom; two rod handles attached in a pad to s... more

Three Poems from the “Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern” (Kokin wakashū), known as the “Araki Fragment” (Araki-gire)

Calligraphy traditionally attributed to Fujiwara no Yukinari (Kōzei) (Japanese, 972–1027) late Heian period (ca. 900–1185)

Fragment of a Frieze with Acanthus Scrolls, Palmettes, and Flowers

The monastic community of Bawit, founded in the 300s by Apa (Father) Apollo at a small village, grew to consist of numerous complexes with residences, chapels, and service structures and two large churches prof... more

Tabula (Square) with Vine Scrolls Containing Aquatic Birds

Tunics and domestic furnishings were often decorated with orbiculi and tabulae (round and square medallions), frequently arranged in pairs. Birds and vine scrolls were popular motifs of abundance, the use of wh... more

Tabula (Square) with Vine Scrolls Containing Aquatic Birds

Tunics and domestic furnishings were often decorated with orbiculi and tabulae (round and square medallions), frequently arranged in pairs. Birds and vine scrolls were popular motifs of abundance, the use of wh... more

Fragment of a Frieze with Vine Scrolls Bearing Grapes

The monastic community of Bawit, founded in the 300s by Apa (Father) Apollo at a small village, grew to consist of numerous complexes with residences, chapels, and service structures and two large churches prof... more

Frieze with Vine Scrolls and Birds

Animals inhabiting vine scrolls were a popular classical motif that remained in use throughout the Empire in the Byzantine era. Attributed to Egypt, Bawit

Oval bowl with grapevine scrolls inhabited by birds and animals

This oval bowl, made from a single piece of hammered silver, is an example of one of the new vessel forms popular during the second half of the Sasanian period (A.D. 224-651): the shape is typical for wine drin... more

Scroll

Attributed to Egypt

Talismanic Scroll

Attributed to Egypt

Biconical Bead with Scrolls

This bead and bead 1980.457 feature superb patterns of scrolling vines whose bifurcations elegantly extend the design to fit the required space. The patterns recall those of the beveled style of the ninth centu... more

Excerpts from Bai Juyi's "Biography of a Master of Drunken Poetry" (Suigin sensei den)

Comprising just four columns of Chinese calligraphy removed from a long handscroll, this precious fragment of early eleventh-century calligraphy has been mounted as a hanging scroll. It was brushed by the celeb... more

Scroll Cover with Animals, Birds, and Flowers

A classic example of Song tapestry, this elegant scroll cover resembles a famous uncut piece (now in Liaoning Provincial Museum, China). This tapestry entered the Museum’s collection as the handscroll cover for... more

Talismanic Scroll

Attributed to Egypt

Talismanic Scroll

Centuries before block printing was introduced in Europe, the technique was used in the Islamic world to produce miniature texts consisting of prayers, incantations, and Qur'anic verses that were kept in amulet... more

Talismanic Scroll

Talismanic scroll in block-print was rolled and stored in an amulet box Made in Egypt

Talismanic Scroll

Attributed to Egypt

Talismanic Scroll

Centuries before block-printing was introduced in Europe, the technique was used in the Islamic world to produce miniature texts consisting of prayers, incantations, and Qur’anic verses. These were kept in amul... more

Fragment from a Talismanic Scroll

Only the upper left corner of this page has survived. The text, which includes a passage reading "the heart of the one who wears it," together with the evidence of folds on the paper point to its original use a... more

Talismanic Scroll

Attributed to Egypt

Talismanic Scroll

Attributed to Egypt

Sketch of an "Inviting Rain" Mandala

This unusual mandala, a sketch from a compendium of esoteric Buddhist images, set in the watery world of dragon kings, was used in rites to end drought. Interestingly, there are no known polychrome or highly fi... more

Scroll Cover with Birds and Flowers

Some of the earliest preserved examples of Chinese tapestry survived as covers for paintings. This piece came into the Museum’s collection as the cover for the handscroll Dragon Boat Regatta on Jinming Lake aft... more

Segment of the Lotus Sutra (Hokekyō)

This five-line segment of a sumptuous scroll of the Lotus Sutra perfectly embodies the aesthetics and religious practice of the late Heian period. The text, from chapter 19, is a litany of fabled fragrances. Th... more

Iconographic Drawing of Saturn (Doyō)

Rituals dedicated to the stars and planets were introduced to Japan from China in the ninth century together with Esoteric Buddhist teachings. Doyō (Sanskrit: Shanaishchara), or the planet Saturn, is one of the... more

Memyo Bosatsu

This iconographic drawing represents Memyo Bosatsu, a deity of sericulture who provides the poor with clothes. The bodhisattva is thought to have originally been a deity indigenous to Chinese popular cults that... more

Three poems from the “Later Collection of Japanese Poems” (Gosen wakashū), known as the “Karasumaru Fragment” (Karasumaru-gire)

Traditionally attributed to Fujiwara no Sadayori (Japanese, 995–1045) Heian period (794–1185)

Daiitoku Myōō

Daiitoku Myōō (Sanskrit: Yamantaka) is one of the five Great Light Kings of Esoteric Buddhism. His Sanskrit name means "one who stops the power of the King of Hell." He is shown with multiple heads, eyes, legs,... more

Landscape in the style of Fan Kuan

Once considered a work of the Ming period (1368–1644), this monumental landscape in the style of Fan Kuan can be dated stylistically to the twelfth century. A mountainscape built up in three stages, the paintin... more

Oil bottle decorated with floral scrolls and lotus petals

Small flat bottles like this stored oil for women’s hair. Goryeo dynasty (918–1392)

Daishōjin Bosatsu, from “Album of Buddhist Deities from the Diamond World and Womb World Mandalas” (“Kontai butsugajō”)

A serene bodhisattva, or compassionate Buddhist deity, wearing an elaborate golden crown sits on a large lotus pedestal. The rainbow of colors on the body, garments, and halo are remarkably preserved from the t... more

Three Poems from the “Later Collection of Japanese Poems” (Gosen wakashū), or “Shirakawa Fragment” (Shirakawa-gire)

Traditionally attributed to Monk Saigyō (Japanese, 1118–1190) Heian period (794–1185)

Kongōyasha Myōō

Kongōyasha Myōō is one of the Five Great Guardian Kings in Esoteric Buddhism. His ferocious aspect is a manifestation of the wrath of the Five Wisdom Buddhas against evil. Kongōyasha Myōō is presented with thre... more

Travelers in a Wintry Forest

During the tenth and eleventh centuries, majestic trees rivaled panoramic landscapes as sources of artistic inspiration. The hermit-painter Jing Hao (act. 900–930), for example, saw in the pine tree "the moral ... more

Maebyeong

Goryeo dynasty (918–1392)

Cup and Saucer with Floral Scrolls

Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

Cup and Saucer with Floral Scrolls

Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279)

Page from the Illustrations and Explanations of the Three Jewels (Sanbō ekotoba), known as the Tōdaiji Fragment (Tōdaiji-gire)

Calligraphy attributed to Minamoto no Toshiyori (Japanese, 1055–1129) Heian period (794–1185)

Page from Illustrations and Explanations of the Three Jewels (Sanbō e-kotoba), one of the “Tōdaiji Fragments” (Tōdaiji-gire)

Illustrations and Explanations of the Three Jewels was originally compiled in 984 by the courtier-poet Minamoto no Tamenori as an introductory guide to Buddhism. The “Three Jewels” of Buddhism comprise the Budd... more

Anchira-taisho Jochi

The subject of this iconographic drawing, which originally belonged to Kōzanji, a temple in the mountains northwest of Kyoto, is generally identified as General Anchira (Andira in Sanskrit), one of the twelve g... more

Ten Kings of Hell

This is one from a set of scrolls (30.76.290–.294) illustrating the theme of the Ten Kings of Hell, which developed during the second half of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The theme transforms the Indian Buddhist... more

Ten Kings of Hell

This is one from a set of scrolls (30.76.290–.294) illustrating the theme of the Ten Kings of Hell, which developed during the second half of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The theme transforms the Indian Buddhist... more

Ten Kings of Hell

This is one from a set of scrolls (30.76.290–.294) illustrating the theme of the Ten Kings of Hell, which developed during the second half of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The theme transforms the Indian Buddhist... more

Ten Kings of Hell

This is one from a set of scrolls (30.76.290–.294) illustrating the theme of the Ten Kings of Hell, which developed during the second half of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The theme transforms the Indian Buddhist... more

Ten Kings of Hell

This is one from a set of scrolls (30.76.290–.294) illustrating the theme of the Ten Kings of Hell, which developed during the second half of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The theme transforms the Indian Buddhist... more

Children Playing in the Palace Garden

Children at play was a popular subject among artists of the Song Imperial Painting Academy. In this example, twenty-two boys play games, ride hobbyhorses, and enjoy a large masonry slide in a corner of the impe... more

White-Robed Kannon

This graceful frontal view of Kannon (Sanskrit: Pandaravasini) emphasizes the deity's dignity and compassion. It derives from Esoteric Buddhist iconography that systematically groups deities into mandalas of th... more

"Imperial Visit to the Great Horse Race at the Kaya-no-in Mansion" (Kaya-no-in komakurabe gyōkō emaki), from the Tale of Flowering Fortunes (Eiga monogatari)

A few days in the autumn of 1024 are the setting for this episode from the quasi-historical chronicle of the life of Fujiwara Michinaga (966–1027), the great Heian-court politician and patron of the arts. As th... more

Competition Between Poets of Different Eras (Jidai fudō uta awase), depicting the poet Minamoto no Hitoshi

This hanging scroll illustrates part of an imaginary poetry competition among fifty poets from the past. The selection of poems from old anthologies and their arrangement into "competing" pairs is traditionally... more

The Tale of Sumiyoshi (Sumiyoshi monogatari)

Anonymously authored in the mid-tenth century, The Tale of Sumiyoshi is one of Japan’s earliest romantic novels, predating The Tale of Genji by a half century. This story of two lovers who, after a long separat... more

Buddha Amitabha Descending from His Pure Land

The imagery in this painting shows the Buddha Amitabha descending from his Pure Land to welcome the soul of a recently deceased individual into his paradisiacal abode. Amitabha is one of several Buddhas who cre... more

Amida Triad in the Form of Sacred Sanskrit Syllables

Embroidered Buddhist images were introduced to Japan from China in the sixth century. Large embroideries were prominent among icons from the sixth through the ninth century and were often hung in temple lecture... more

The Bodhisattva Manjushri (Monju Bosatsu)

The bodhisattva Manjushri holds his identifying attributes—sword and sutra—and appears, as he often does, as a youth to symbolize the purity of his wisdom. A pair of mystic syllables at the top corners of the p... more

Kasuga Mandala

The area of Kasuga was chosen by Fujiwara Fuhito (659–720) to enshrine his ancestral clan deities when the Japanese imperial court moved to Nara in the early eighth century. Here, the Kasuga Shrine and its envi... more

The Poet Fujiwara Kiyotada, from the Narikane Version of the Thirty-six Poetic Immortals

Thirty-six poets were selected in the late tenth century as the Poetic Immortals (Sanjūrokkasen), and soon thereafter imaginary portraits of them (kasen-e) were made. The present fragment once belonged to a lon... more

Amitabha triad

The Amitabha Buddha (Korean: Amita) was the focus of worship in Pure Land Buddhism, which enjoyed great popularity during the Goryeo period. Devotees were promised entrance to Amitabha’s Western Paradise upon r... more

Benzaiten and Fifteen Attendants

Kamakura period (1185–1333)

Dragon

In the style of Muqi (Chinese, ca. 1210–after 1269) Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Luohan

Fourteenth-century renderings of arhats (or luohans), particularly from the second half of that period, are imbued with an intensity that differs markedly from the more serene representations of these figures t... more

Sakyamuni and Attendant Bodhisattvas in a Landscape

This painting stands midway between the hieratic icons employed in formal temple ceremonies and the informal images that served Chan (or Zen) monks as personal devotional images for use in meditation. The intim... more

Ox and Herdsman

Unidentified Artist Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Eleven-Headed Kannon on Mount Fudaraka

Described in the sutras as a mountainous island in the southern sea, Mount Fudaraka (Sanskrit: Potalaka) is said to be the residence of the bodhisattva Kannon (Sanskrit: Avalokiteshvara). In China, this island ... more

Three poems from the Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern (Kokin wakashū)

Connoisseurs in the past attributed this work to the hand of courtier-poet Fujiwara no Tameyori. In doing so, they seem to have made a speculative connection between the content of the calligraphic fragment, in... more

The Illustrated Sutra of Past and Present Karma (Kako genzai inga kyō emaki)

Sinicized figures representing the Buddha’s father and his men occupy a landscape with a rolling hill and trees. The text beneath the illustration relates how Prince Siddhartha (the historical Buddha) travels t... more

Tiger

In the style of Muqi (Chinese, ca. 1210–after 1269) Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Covered Box

This sumptuously decorated container, probably used as a cosmetics box, would have held a set of smaller celadon boxes for makeup. Goryeo dynasty (918–1392)

Shaka (Shakyamuni) Triad

This painting shows Shaka in his fully enlightened state, enthroned and flanked by his bodhisattva attendants: Monju (Manjushri), riding a golden lion, and Fugen (Samantabhadra), riding a white elephant. Servin... more

Buddha Amitabha descending from his Pure Land

This painting, traditionally ascribed by Japanese scholars to a Song Buddhist painter named Zhang Sigong, represents the Buddha Amitabha (J.: Amida) welcoming souls into his Western Paradise. The drapery of the... more

Mandala of Monju Bosatsu

At the center of this mandala, which was used in rites to prevent natural calamities, is an orb framing Monju Bosatsu (Sanskrit: Bodhisattva Manjushri) surrounded by eight tiny Sanskrit seed syllables and eight... more

Two Poems from the Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern, Continued (Zoku Shoku kokin wakashū)

Nun Abutsu (Abutsu-ni), one of the most celebrated woman writers of the age, earned literary fame for her moving account of palace and temple culture in her Diary of the Waning Moon (Izayoi nikki). Before takin... more

Section of the Dream Diary (Yume no ki) with a Sketch of Mountains

The content of a dream is inscribed in a mixture of Chinese characters and Japanese phonetic syllables known as katakana, along with a sketchy depiction of three mountains. The dreamer records a meeting with tw... more

Letter to the Nun Jōjūbō

Myōe Kōben (Japanese, 1173–1232) Kamakura period (1185–1333)

Section of the Dream Diary (Yume no ki)

This long text is written in Chinese characters mixed with Japanese syllables, called katakana for their inflected verb endings. Katakana originally functioned as a mnemonic device used primarily by monks, but ... more

Chan master riding a mule

Painted in a few swift brushstrokes and deftly applied ink washes, Chan Master Riding a Mule exemplifies the freely expressive manner of Chan (Zen, in Japanese) Buddhist painting, which relies less on descripti... more

Meeting between Yaoshan and Li Ao

This painting was inscribed by the Chan (Zen) Buddhist priest Yanxi Guangwen between 1254 and 1256, while he was abbot of Lingyin temple in Hangzhou. The work is an important example of early Chan Buddhist "app... more

Satsubari, the Second of the Sixteen Arhats

Nanbokuchō period (1336–92)

Deer Mandala of Kasuga Shrine

Nanbokuchō period (1336–92)

Farewell by a Stream on a Clear Day

Zhao Yuan was a member of Suzhou literary circles and a close friend of many late Yuan scholar-painters, including Ni Zan (1306-1374) and Wang Meng (ca. 1308-1385).Farewell by a Stream on a Clear Day is painted... more

Mikaeri Jizō Bosatsu

The merciful bodhisattva Jizō is shown leading a soul to paradise. Standing atop a cloud with his left foot forward and a golden staff held back over his shoulder, he turns to gaze with gentle vigilance. Popula... more

Arhats

According to Buddhist scripture, arhats (Japanese: rakan) are protectors of the Dharma who also use assorted magical powers to assist the faithful. They were frequently depicted in groups of eight, sixteen, eig... more

Taima Mandala

The Taima Mandala represents the Pure Land of the Buddha Amida (Sanskrit: Amitābha) bordered on three sides by parables from the Sutra on the Meditation on the Buddha of Infinite Life (Kanmuryō jukyō ). This te... more

The Four Deities of Kōyasan Temple Complex

The four deities in court dress represent a hierarchy of local Shinto gods (kami) important to Kōyasan, the great mountain-based complex of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. The upper pair comprises Kariba Myōjin (mal... more

Mandala of Hannya Bosatsu

The bodhisattva Hannya, an emanation of the Cosmic Buddha Dainichi as the embodiment of ultimate knowledge and perfect wisdom, is depicted in the center of the painting, seated on a lotus pedestal and mounted o... more

Scene from The Illustrated Legends of Jin’ōji Temple (Jin’ōji engi emaki)

Jin’ōji Temple is associated with the ascetic hermit monk En no Gyōja. Legend has it that he ordered a shikigami (a local deity represented as a small ghost) to guide the Korean deity Hōshō Gongen (Korean: Bose... more

Cicada on a Grapevine

At the end of summer, the leaves of a grapevine have withered, its fruits have ripened, and a solitary cicada clings to the vine. This scroll was originally paired with a painting now in the collection of the K... more

Crane in a bamboo grove

A favorite image in Chinese society and a familiar presence in imperial gardens as well as refined scholarly retreats, cranes were also renowned as the vehicles of Daoist immortals. Their long life span and loy... more

Prince Shōtoku at Age Sixteen

Imaginary portraits and legends about the life of Prince Shōtoku (574?–622), the champion of Japanese Buddhism, emerged immediately after his death in 622. This painting of Shōtoku is based on his biography, wh... more

Illustrated Biography of Prince Shōtoku

Prince Shōtoku (574?–622), a fervent champion of Buddhism against the often fierce opposition of the hereditary clans in charge of Shinto ritual, was venerated within a century after his death as an incarnation... more

Tray with pommel scrolls

Layers of black lacquer applied between the red ones enhance this tray’s surface appearance and contribute to the vivacity of the scroll design. Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Scholar Viewing Plum Blossoms

This small landscape is a rare example of the continuation of the Southern Song Painting Academy manner during the Mongol occupation. With the establishment of the native Chinese Ming dynasty in 1368, the Song ... more