Masterpieces of KNM

Bon-ten (Brahman) (One of the Twelve Devas)

Bon-ten (Brahman) (One of the Twelve Devas)

Bon-ten is one of the Twelve Devas, originally owned by Kyoogokoku-ji (To-ji) Temple, that were made in 1127 to be hung at the annual, New Year's ceremony of esoteric prayers, at Shingon-in in the Imperial Palace.

Of the twelve scrolls, Bon-ten and Fu-ten have a particularly elaborate and large-scale decorations. This has led some scholars to believe that these two were part of an earlier 1040 set of Twelve Devas and were somehow rescued from the fire that destroyed the others. A more probable explanation is that Bon-ten and Fu-ten were painted by a different artist than the other scrolls.

The twelve devas are the guardians of the four quarters and four semi-quarters, up and down, and the sun and moon. Bon-ten guards the upward direction.

Hanging scroll, color and gold on silk
144.2 x 126.5 cm
Late-Heian Period (Dated 1127)
National Treasure
AK 283

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