Past Exhibitions

Senzui Byōbu Landscape Screens: From Court to Temple
June 9, 2015 - July 5, 2015

Senzui Byōbu were used in the esoteric Buddhist ritual of Kanjō. This ritual, modeled on ancient Indian coronation ceremonies, involves pouring water over the head and was incorporated into esoteric Buddhism as a rite of passage. Because of their use in esoteric Buddhist ceremonies, the word Senzui (literally "mountains and water") is pronounced in the old classical Chinese pronunciation (the "Wu pronunciation").
In esoteric Buddhism an altar is set up for each individual prayer or ritual, and a spacious building is required to accommodate them all. Senzui Byōbu were used to partition the space as needed, and in fact the theme of the paintings decorating them does not really matter. The folding screens used were basically the same as those used in aristocratic homes, and while technically Buddhist ritual implements, they also reflect the splendors of Heian Dynasty (794-1185) culture.

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