Sakyamuni preaching


Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, 16th century
Color and gold on silk panel
H x W (image): 103.4 x 48.2 cm (40 11/16 x 19 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 08: The Historical Buddha and Friends

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Buddhism, Japan, kakemono, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573), preaching

To 1904
Yamanaka & Company, to 1904 [1]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1904 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

[1] Undated folder sheet note. Also see Original Kakemono List, pg. 89, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. The majority of Charles Lang Freer’s purchases from Yamanaka & Company were made at its New York branch. Yamanaka & Company maintained branch offices, at various times, in Boston, Chicago, London, Peking, Shanghai, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. During the summer, the company also maintained seasonal locations in Newport, Bar Harbor, and Atlantic City.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source)


The Historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, is shown seated on a throne in the form of a lotus, an important symbol in Buddhism representing, among other concepts, purity, perfection, and divine birth. The Buddha raises his right hand in a symbolic gesture, or mudra, of protection and reassurance, and his expression reflects a contemplative tranquillity that inspires peaceful meditation. This painting was originally mounted as a hanging scroll to be displayed on special occasions of ceremony or worship.

Published References
  • Yui Suzuki. Medicine Master Buddha: The Iconic Worship of Yakushi in Heian Japan. Japanese Visual Culture, vol. 3 Leiden-Boston. p. 55, fig. 14.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum