Past Exhibitions

Muromachi Handscrolls of Temple and Shrine Legends
March 17, 2015 - April 12, 2015

Engi-e are paintings depicting the legendary histories or origins of shrines and temples or miraculous occurrences related to their icons of worship. During Japan’s medieval era, from the 1200s through the 1500s, engi-e were frequently produced as handscrolls. Since they helped promote worship at temples and shrines, these pictorial legends began to be made for wider sectors of society. By the Muromachi period (1392–1573), such handscrolls had become more simplified and accessible and were produced in vast quantities of varying quality.
This exhibition features works by highly trained artists of the Kano and Tosa schools, which were commissioned by the shoguns and the aristocratic elite. The masterworks on view include the Legends of the Shakadō Hall (Shakadō engi), which depicts miracles related to a famous Shayamuni sculpture at Kyoto's Seiryō-ji Temple; Legends of Kuwanomi-dera Temple (Kuwanomi-dera engi), which relates stories about Mt. Kuwanomi (now called Mt. Kinugasa, in Shiga prefecture), where the temple would be built; and Legends of Jūnen-ji Temple (Jūnen-ji engi), which describes the high virtues of its founder Priest Shin'a.

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