Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples
Daily Life, Five Hundred Arhats: Scrolls 1 and 2
The opening section of this exhibition offers windows into the daily life and rituals of the rakan. At right, a gaunt and elderly rakan gossips with a youthful rakan holding a peacock fan. Before them, an acolyte hashes medicinal herbs while another turns out ground powder from a boat-shaped vessel. A rakan in a chair seated in half-lotus position is about to sample the freshly prepared incense. While the motif of acolytes working a mortar and pestle was frequently seen in medieval rakan painting, Kazunobu's treatment is remarkable for its vivid coloring, intricate detail, and vigor of expression.
To the left, a rakan with overgrown eyebrows stands with his palms together before a pink-robed rakan reading a sutra scroll. In the middle ground, a rakan offers a white garment to a beggar in rags. In the distance, a rakan with the head of a bull reposes by a river. He has removed his shoes to wash his feet, which appear to be hooves.