- Museum number
Painting showing the hooded figure of Kṣitigarbha seated on a lotus with the Good and Bad Boys by his sides. The Six Ways of Life are represented by wavy lines emerging from the Bodhisattva's nimbus. The monk Daoming, supposed author of the Sutra of the Ten Kings (Shiwang shengqi jing), is standing with his lion in front of him, and the Ten Kings of Hell kneel in two slanted lines. Of the ten, only Yama is distinguishable (by his mortarboard). Painted on a dark blue background, perhaps suggesting the netherworld, with gold leaf decoration. Ink and colour on silk.
- Production date
Height: 48.10 centimetres
Width: 44.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
In this painting on dark blue silk (Perhaps suggesting a setting in the nether regions of hell), Ksitigarbha’s countenance shines forth in gold, as do the diamond-shaped pieces of gold leaf on his robes and halo, and on the tips of the lotus petals of his throne (Pl. 23-2). Wavy lines standing for the Six Ways are seen on either side, but without the tiny figures seen in the previous plate. The Bodhisattva is accompanied by two figures in reverent attitudes who must be the Good (Fig. 29) and Bad (Fig. 30) Boys of the Sutra of the Ten Kings, who record good and evil respectively.
The Ten Kings themselves are seen kneeling in two slanting rows to the left and right below the lotus throne (Figs. 31, 32), each holding a tablet. Among them only Yama, the fifth kings, can be identified by his mian 冕, or mortar-board, the nearest to Ksitigarbha on the right. Behind him stand two court officials, one holding a bulky roll of records. His counterpart on the opposite side pensively fingers the tip of a writing brush. In front, in the centre, there appears the priest Daoming道名,the supposed author of the Sutra of the Ten Kings, and his lion (Pl. 23-3), together with the figure of a man who may represent the soul asking for Ksitigarbha’s intercession.
According to Waley, this depiction is a “condensed version” of the fuller representation of the Ten Kings that appears in the next plate, but if we follow Lothar Ledderose’s argument, this depiction of the Ten Kings together in two groups is an iconography that must precede the stage where each king has his own desk and courtroom attendants. A close parallel on paper is seen in Pl.62.
From Whitfield 1983:
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Sutra of the Ten Kings (Shiwang shengqi jing)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Ch.lxi.009 (Stein no.)