Skip to Content

Open today 10–11 a.m. members |
11 a.m.–5 p.m. public. Learn more.

Jingoji Sutra

A work made of gold and silver pigments on indigo-dyed paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of gold and silver pigments on indigo-dyed paper.


12th century


Artist unknown
Japanese, active 12th century

About this artwork

The second half of the 12th century was a time of great political instability in Japan. Aristocrats felt as if they were living in an age of mappo, or Buddhist decline, and were preoccupied with the afterlife. This sutra is part of a famous set of 5,000 scriptures likely commissioned by Emperor Toba (1103–1156) and completed by his son, Emperor Go-Shirakawa (1127–1192), in 1185. The frontispiece of the sutra shows the Buddha preaching at Vulture Peak. At the beginning of the text is the seal of Jingoji temple in red. The ruled lines of text are in silver, and the Chinese characters are brushed in gold in a balanced and orderly script. Those with the means to launch such a project believed that all involved received merit and were assured a favorable rebirth in paradise. As a result of this belief, decorated sutras were some of the most extravagant commissions of their time.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Jingoji Sutra






Gold and silver pigments on indigo-dyed paper


25.8 (28.9 with knobs) × 1,289 cm

Credit Line

Purchased with Funds Provided by the Weston Foundation

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions