Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples
Navigating the Six Realms
The Six Realms: Warring Spirits, Five Hundred Arhats: Scrolls 31 and 32
In the right scroll, a three-faced, multiple-armed Ashura, deity of wrath, holds red and white orbs representing sun and moon. A celebrated eighth-century sculpture of this angry god is held at Kofukuji temple in Nara, which portrays him as a sensitive and melancholy youth. Kazunobu's Ashura could not be more different with his brazen, bellicose countenance.
A slasher film-worthy scene unfolds in the foreground of the left scroll. The stylized action and graphic violence recall the woodblock prints of Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), a contemporary of Kazunobu. From above, the rakan look down upon this spectacle of clownish force. It appears they have already washed their hands of these hopeless beings.