Otokoyama Hachiman Shrine Mandala

Unknown13-14th Century

Kyoto National Museum

Kyoto National Museum
Kyoto, Japan

This shrine mandala captures a scene from the front of the main building of Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine in Tsuzuki county, Yamashiro province (now Yawata city in Kyoto prefecture). Otokoyama is a sobriquet for Hatogamine (“Pigeon Peak”, elevation approximately 143 meters), where the shrine is located, and has been known since early times as a celebrated poetic place name for its distinctive shape.
The three Shinto deities in the main shrine in the upper half of the painting and the four deities in the auxiliary shrines below appear in their Buddhist manifestations. At the center of the main shrine is the Buddha Amida (Skt. Amitābha) with his attendant bodhisattvas Kannon (Skt. Avalokitêśvara) on the right and Seishi (Skt. Mahāsthāmaprāpta) on the left. Below on the two sides of the stonepaved path are arranged Amida (in Takeuchi Shrine) and Seishi (Kōra Shrine) in the upper and lower left respectively, and Eleven-headed Kannon (Wakamiya Shrine) and Fugen (Skt. Samantabhadra; Wakamiyaden Shrine) in the upper and lower right. Although this painting somewhat differs from the actual scenery, the depiction of the shrine visitors and the pigeons, which represent the messengers of the shrine, on the rooftop of the inner sanctuary vividly convey the ambience at the front of the main building in the late Kamakura period. An inscription from a restoration treatment in 1588 (Tenshō 16) on the back side of the hanging scroll records a previous inscription for a restoration in 1479 (Bunmei 11). According to this earlier inscription, members of the Koga court family, whose tutelary deity was enshrined at Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine, donated this painting as the central image to be used during the Hachiman cofraternity gatherings held on the eleventh day of each month. The elder statesman of the Meiji period, Inoue Kaoru (1868–1912), who was known as an avid collector of antique art, once owned this work.


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