Ink on silk
84.0 X 3.6 cm
China, Song Dynasty (13th Century)
Important Cultural Property
Yuima (Vimalakirti) was a Vaisali millionaire famous for his eloquence. Though he never entered the priesthood, he had a deep understanding of Buddhism. One day while he was sick with the "illness of sentient beings," the Bodhisattva Monju (Manjusri) came to see him. Their discussion is an important dialogue in Mahayana Buddhism.
This painting is a dramatic scene out of the Yuima-kyo (Vimalakirti) sutra. The elderly Yuima reclines on a bed with his arm on an armrest and his mouth slightly open. An angel from the "Kanshujobon" section of the sutra stands beside him scattering sacred flowers.
Yuima's gentle expression and the elaborate patterns of the bed are characteristic of Song painting. The artist followed the traditional, ink-painting style of late-Northern Song Dynasty painter Li Gonglin, known for his portraits of Yuima.