Past Exhibitions

Two Versions of the Illustrated Biography of Priest Ippen and Shinkyō (Yugyō Shōnin emaki)
January 17, 2017 - February 19, 2017

This exhibition features two rare copies of an early set of handscrolls known as the Sōshun version of the Illustrated Biography of Priest Ippen and Shinkyō (Yugyō Shōnin emaki). (The name comes from the fact that the original scrolls—which are now lost— were likely compiled by a monk named Sōshun.) The subject matter of these scrolls is similar to that in the well known National Treasure-designated illustrated handscrolls Ippen Hijiri-e (not on view here). Both show the life and accomplishments of the Buddhist priest Ippen (1239–1289), founder of the Jishū sect; however, the Sōshun version is distinctive in that it depicts not only the deeds of Ippen but also those of his chief disciple Shinkyō (1237–1319). It was this Sōshun version, in fact, that was most widely copied and distributed among Jishū temples. Two of the most important surviving copies of the Sōshun version are on view here. Owned by the temples Shinkō-ji and Konren-ji, they are especially precious because of their inscriptions dated with the years in which they were made.

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