Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5

Illustrated Legends of the Tenchi-in (Tenchi-in engi)

A work made of hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk.


14th century


Artist unknown

About this artwork

The Tenchi-in compound was founded in 708 by the monk Gyoki (668–749), who also built the great national temple of Todaiji in 743. Tenchi-in was later incorporated into the organizational structure of Todaiji, which owns two similar painted scrolls that once formed a set with this one. Narrative paintings were often commissioned by temples to assist monks in describing their history and teachings to visitors. Here monks and pilgrims walk through the red gate toward the central hall dedicated to Kannon, bodhisattva of compassion and mercy. In front of the building, a sacred dance is being performed. The rectangular shape in the center of the painting likely once had a title or label written inside. At the lower left, two prancing deer and a peasant carrying a load add an everyday dimension to the scene.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Illustrated Legends of the Tenchi-in (Tenchi-in engi)


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.



Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk


256 × 104 cm (100 13/16 × 41 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

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