Hanging scroll painting with a portrait of the monk Jion Daishi

Kamakura period, early 14th century AD

The bringer of a new Buddhist sect to Japan

Jion Daishi (AD 632-82) was the Chinese patriarch of the Hossō (Chinese: Faxiang) sect, which he brought to Japan from China and which became one of the main six sects of Nara Buddhism. His original Chinese name was Guiji. His portrait was kept for veneration in Hossō temples throughout Japan, especially the great temples of Kōfukuji, Yakushiji and Hōryūji. Special 'Jion Daishi meetings' were held from the tenth century onwards when his portrait was displayed. This accounts for the relatively large number of surviving paintings from this time.

The patriarch is portrayed here as a tall, imposing figure with bushy eyebrows and strong features. The inscription at the top gives a brief account of his life.

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More information


I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)

W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)

L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


Height: 1675.000 mm
Width: 855.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA JP ADD377 (1964.7-11.01)



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