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Rebirth of the Nun Anyo

A work made of pair six-panel screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pair six-panel screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper.


early 18th century


Artist Unknown

About this artwork




An aged nun at the moment of her death sits in a small house calmly watching Amida Buddha and his retinue of bodhisattvas, dancing and playing music, approach on golden clouds. It is the belief of the Pure Land Sect (Jodo) of Buddhism that the Amida Buddha receives the souls of the recently departed and carries them back to the Western Paradise. Repeated in gold around the figures is the mantra Namu Amida Butsu (Hail the Amida Buddha!). By intoning this phrase over and over again, a soul could be assured of salvation. The other texts written in gold contains passages from Pure Land sutras describing the remarkable scene, and another inscription identifies the nun as Anyo (953–1034), the younger sister of the monk Genshin (also pictured), author of the landmark tract Ojo yoshu (The Essentials of Pure Land Rebirth).

Judging from the characters reading “Kaoku” on the mounting fabric, it is believed that this pair of screens was commissioned by Kaoku Enshin (d. 1707), a leading monk of the Pure Land Sect and an advisor to the Tokugawa clan, perhaps in anticipation of his own death.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Rebirth of the Nun Anyo


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Pair six-panel screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper


151.5 × 373 cm (59 5/8 × 147 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by the Joseph and Helen Regenstein Foundation

Reference Number


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