View right to left
overall: Hibo Kannon

original: 19482 see also: 70539

Hibo Kannon

Hanging scroll
Artist: Kanō Hōgai 狩野芳崖 (1828-1888)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, 1883
Ink, color and gold on silk
H x W (image): 163.9 × 84.6 cm (64 1/2 × 33 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
This monumental painting represents Kannon in the guise of a maternal figure who nurtures an infant surrounded by a halo. Both figures hover among clouds high above the stark landscape of the world where the child will live. The painting exhibits both a signature and seal.
This monumental painting of Kannon, a bodhisattva (enlightened being) associated with infinite compassion, portrays the Buddhist deity in the guise of a maternal figure who nurtures an infant below surrounded by a halo. Both figures hover among clouds high above a stark landscape that represents the world where the newborn child will live. This unusual presentation of the familiar deity Kannon was based on traditional Buddhist works of art, in which the deity is sometimes attended or accompanied by a child. Hogai's work differs from traditional Buddhist paintings, however, in that the artist intended from the outset to create a painting for public display in art exhibitions rather than as an object of veneration for a Buddhist temple. This painting was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1883.

The American educator Ernest F. Fenellosa (1853–1908), who served on Japan's Imperial Art Commission from 1886–89, became a strong advocate and patron of Kano Hogai after meeting him in 1883. In 1886, while traveling in Europe for the imperial art commission, Fenellosa purchased from art dealer Siegfried Bing this painting of Kannon, which he called "The Creation of Man." Charles Lang Freer purchased the painting in 1902 from Fenellosa. In the last year of his life, Hogai completed a second version of Hibo Kannon, which is now in the collection of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
bodhisattva, Buddhism, child, cloud, halo, Japan, kakemono, Kannon, kundika, Meiji era (1868 - 1912)
Collection(s) Area
Japanese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.