Past Exhibitions

Two Editions of the Illustrated Biography of Priest Shinran
May 12, 2015 - June 7, 2015

The founder of the Jōdo Shinshū ("True Pure Land") sect of Buddhism is a Kamakura period priest named Shinran (1173 –1262). The life and legendary works of this priest were first recorded in the form of illustrated handscrolls in the year 1295 under the supervision of Shinran's great grandson, the priest Kakunyo (1270–1351)—who was the third generation abbot of the Jōdo Shinshū temple of Hongan-ji in Kyoto. This first edition was quickly lost to fire; thereafter, however, Kakunyo spent his entire career producing various other versions of the founder's biography. The Kōei edition on view here is the last edition that Kakunyo produced and is one with an enormous influence on later illustrated Shinran biography scrolls. Also on view is the Gugan edition, which was made three years after the Kōei but is thought to be based on an earlier, now lost, set of scrolls produced by Kakunyo.

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