24 bydin temple consulate general of japan new york

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Unformatted text preview: ing their hands in prayer, and still others holding forth votive offerings. The formal way in which the figure of Amida, facing directly frontward, has been inserted into the center of the picture gives it a stiffly iconographic appearance; yet the gentle and even smiling expressions of all the figures— Amida as well as the host of bodhisattvas—are strikingly different from the fierce, unearthly visages of Jògan art. The Fujiwara epoch, in literature as well as the visual arts, was soft, approachable, and “feminine.” By contrast, the earlier Jògan epoch had been forbidding, secretive (esoteric), and “masculine.” The favor that Amidism came to enjoy among the courtiers in the eleventh century is significantly revealed in the conduct of the regent Michinaga, who in his heyday had joyfully exclaimed in verse his contentment with the world: The full moon makes me feel That the world is mine indeed; Like the moon I shine Unveiled by clouds. Yet, as death approached, Michinaga turned his thoughts ever more to Amida and the hereafter. Following a practice that became common in Japan, he sought in his final moments to facilitate Amida’s descent to lead him to the pure land by facing his bed toward the west and holding in his hand a colored string attached to Amida in a raigò painting. Later 72 The Court at Its Zenith Fig. 23 Raigò, “The Descent of Amida and the Celestial Company” (courtesy of the Seattle Art Museum, Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection) artists, in their desire to emphasize the rapidity with which true believers could expect to be transported to the pure land, painted raigò that showed Amida and the heavenly host coming down toward the viewer in great haste (rather than in the gentle, floating manner of the work described above). The raigò scene was even reenacted dramatically, and there is at The Court at Its Zenith 73 Fig. 24 Byòdòin Temple (Consulate General of Japan, New York) least one recorded case of a man who, on his deathbed, engaged a group of priests to visi...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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