Portrait of Fujiwara no Kamatari (614-669), accompanied by two sons

Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, 15th century
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (overall): 183.4 x 56.7 cm (72 3/16 x 22 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 08: The Way of the Kami

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Japan, kakemono, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573), portrait, Shinto, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Franz Bader Gallery


This portrait of the Japanese aristocrat Fujiwara no Kamatari (614- 669) and his two sons is a religious icon. It represents Kamatari in the setting of an enshrined Shinto deity, with the shrine's curtains pulled back and three sacred mirrors overhead. Wearing formal black robes and carrying a baton that symbolizes his rank and authority, he sits in front of a screen painted with wisteria (fuji), an emblem of his family. Worship of Kamatari as a Shinto god (kami) began shortly after his death and continues today near Nara City where his sons, depicted smaller here because they are not gods, enshrined his remains. Kamatari was revered as a protector of legitimate imperial rule and as the ancestor of the powerful Fujiwara family.

Published References
  • Shimazu Auction Catalogue: November 26, 1928., 1928. pl. 13.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum