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Bathing of the Buddha Festival

A work made of hanging scroll, ink and color on silk.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of hanging scroll, ink and color on silk.


Qing dynasty, 1833


Hua Ziyou 華子宥 (Chinese, 19th century)

About this artwork

This affable and remarkably zany cast of characters plays upon the festive atmosphere of an annual celebration held to commemorate the birth of the historical Buddha and his first shower by water-bearing dragons. Some of the disciples pictured flaunt pseudo-religious “miracles”: one opens his stomach to reveal the Buddha nature within and another magically creates a temple in mid-air. Other disciples nonchalantly engage on superficially mundane activities that allude to Buddhist conduct, such as mending clothes and reading sutras. A lion, elephant, tiger, dragon, and phoenix are also in attendance; some serve as traditional vehicles of Buddhist deities, whereas others are more generally auspicious. Together, these personalities exude the vitality of a secularized but nonetheless sincere faith.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Hua Ziyou


Bathing of the Buddha Festival


China (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 color on silk


道光癸巳浴佛節 鄂渚生華子宥敬寫 Festival of the bathing of Buddha in1883, respectfully written by Hua Ziyou of Hubei.


108.9 × 54.2 cm (42 7/8 × 21 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Joseph Winterbotham

Reference Number


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