Life of the Buddha: The Birth of the Buddha

Period: Muromachi period (1392–1573)

Date: early 15th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: Section of a wall panel mounted as a hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk

Dimensions: 29 1/2 x 43 7/8 in. (75 x 111.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Alvin Friedman-Kien, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.478.1


On the right side of the painting, Queen Maya grasps a tree branch while walking through the Lumbini gardens, and the baby emerges from her side. On the left, heavenly musicians play music and throw flowers in celebration as the newborn immediately takes seven steps marked by lotus flowers and, raising his right hand, declares, "Among all divine beings, only I am lord, most holy and victorious." He is then given his first bath—a heavenly lustration by dragons.