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Bathing of the Buddha Festival

A work made of hanging scroll, ink and color on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of hanging scroll, ink and color on paper.


Qing dynasty, 1833


Hua Ziyou
Chinese, 19th century

About this artwork

This affable and remarkably zany cast of characters plays upon the festive atmosphere of an annual celebration held to commemorate the birth of the historical Buddha and his first shower by water-bearing dragons. Some of the disciples pictured flaunt pseudo-religious “miracles”: one opens his stomach to reveal the Buddha nature within and another magically creates a temple in mid-air. Other disciples nonchalantly engage on superficially mundane activities that allude to Buddhist conduct, such as mending clothes and reading sutras. A lion, elephant, tiger, dragon, and phoenix are also in attendance; some serve as traditional vehicles of Buddhist deities, whereas others are more generally auspicious. Together, these personalities exude the vitality of a secularized but nonetheless sincere faith.


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Arts of Asia


Hua Ziyou


Bathing of the Buddha Festival


China (Artist's nationality)




Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper


道光癸巳浴佛節 鄂渚生華子宥敬寫 Festival of the bathing of Buddha in1883, respectfully written by Hua Ziyou of Hubei.


108.9 × 54.2 cm (42 7/8 × 21 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Joseph Winterbotham

Reference Number


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