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Hanging scroll painting: Myōken Bosatsu Mandara - 976.22_1


Hanging scroll painting: Myōken Bosatsu Mandara

Medium:Ink and pigment on silk
Geography: Japan
Date: late 16th - early 17th century
Period: Momoyama period
210 x 68.5 cm
Object number: 976.22
Not on view

The large central figure is Myōken, the deification of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). Above are the seven stars of that constellation (Donrōsei, Kyomonsei, Rokuzonsei, Monkyokusei, Renteisei, Bukyokusei & Hagunsei) represented as costumed figures of Japan’s indigenous Shinto faith. At the top is another manifestation of Myōken riding a dragon, holding sun and moon discs, and brush and tablet, on which are recorded people’s good and bad deeds. At the bottom of the image is a schematized representation of Mt Kasuga, in Nara. The iconography exemplifies a fusion of Daoist elements (arriving in Japan from China via Korea) with Shinto and also Shingon (esoteric) Buddhism. This painting may be dated to the Muromachi or early Edo period from the figure style, with influences from Ming China.

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