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Asian Art
Artist: Baiken, Japanese, late 15th–early 16th century

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in the White-Robed Manifestation (Byakue Kannon)

late 15th–early 16th century

Hanging scroll: ink on paper; possibly ivory rollers

without mounting: 28 9/16 × 9 15/16 in. (72.6 × 25.2 cm) with rollers: 17 11/16 in. (45 cm) with mounting: 67 11/16 × 16 in. (172 × 40.7 cm)
Purchased with funds from The Japan Foundation Endowment of the Council on East Asian Studies
The embodiment of compassion, the most important virtue in Buddhism, the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (in Japanese, Byakue Kannon) takes thirty-three manifestations, or avatars, in East Asian traditions. This avatar is popularly known as the “white-robed manifestation” because of the color of the bodhisattva’s shawl. The seal above the bodhisattva’s head on this hanging scroll indicates that it was painted by an individual known as Baiken, most likely a pen name for a monk in the Zen (Chan) tradition, which often depicted bodhisattvas and their worldly environments with simple brushstrokes, lines, and dots.
On view*
Muromachi period (1336–1573)

1903, 11th month: It was in the collection of Mr. Setsuda Hikosuke. See the handwritten letter by Lord Hijikata Hisamoto, head of the Japan Art Society [Nihon Bijutsu Kyoukai].
1932, June 8: Professor Moriya Kouzou (whose gou was Toujuan Senshuu and who was famous for his collection of old Buddhist sutras that entered Kyoto National Museum) purchased it at the said date auction. See the handwritten note by Senshuu in the box.
2007, March 15-April 10 Oriental Fine Arts: Koichi Yanagi.


Asaoka Okisada, Koga bikou, ed. Ota Kin, Zotei (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1904), 738.

Tokyo Bijutsu Kurabu, Tokyo, Setsuda-ke zouhin tenkan mokuroku, sale cat. (June 1932).

Japanese Choose Chinese Arts: Porcelains and Painting Themes, exh. cat. (New York: Koichi Yanagi Oriental Fine Arts, 2007), pl. 4.

Sadako Ohki and Takeshi Watanabe, Tea Culture of Japan (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 86, no. 18, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.