About this artwork
Kukai (774–835) was an influential religious leader responsible for introducing Shingon Buddhism, a form of Esoteric Buddhism, to Japan in the ninth century. After his death, Kûkai received the name Kôbô Daishi (Great Teacher of the Divine Law) and was revered as a saint.
The inscription at the top of this painting is a quotation from the Goyuigo, a set of instructions believed to have been prepared by Kukai for his disciples. In the passage, Kukai describes a dream he had as a child in which he was carried aloft on an eight-petaled lotus flower to a heavenly realm where he conversed with various Buddhas. The practice of depicting religious leaders as children during miraculous moments in their lives would have been keenly reassuring to Buddhist devotees.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of Asia
- Kobo Daishi (Kukai) as a Boy (Chigo Daishi)
- Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
- 86.7 × 48.9 cm (34 1/8 × 19 1/4 in.)
- Gift of the Joseph and Helen Regenstein Foundation