A masterpiece among works in the Tokyo National Museum collection, this is a significant example of Japanese Buddhist painting, which reached its zenith in the latter half of the Heian period (794-1192). In the 12th century, intricate expressions became particularly refined, as can be seen here in the thin yet firm and smooth outlines, subtle variances and combinations of colors realized by high-quality and opulent pigments, and the elaborate decoration of cut gold leaf applied in thin thread-like strips (a technique known as kirikane). Let your eyes slowly trace these expressions first, as you would with a piece of abstract art.In the Heian period, the Lotus Sutra gained devout belief. Fugen Bosatsu is a Bodhisattva that manifests himself to the believers of this sutra to guard them. The hint of vermillion added to his pure white skin, and the outlines rendered delicately in Indian ink (instead of vermillion, as is usual in Buddhist paintings), work together with the softly glowing kirikane halo to create a kind of clarity.In this work, among the falling lotus and tilted slightly forward, Fugen Bosatsu looks as if he is just about to come forth. This graceful Bodhisattva, as if appearing from a dream, is also an embodiment of the beauty of Japanese Buddhist paintings.