Masterpieces of KNM

Kofuku-ji Mandala

Kofuku-ji Mandala

This is one the Kasuga Shrine and Temple Mandalas that depict Kasuga Shrine and Kofuku-ji Temple. This painting is unusual, however, in that it portrays Kofuku-ji Temple as its primary subject.

The work depicts Buddhist statues in ink on gold leaf, which adds appropriate brightness to the scene. Although minutely detailed, the overall painting style is magnificant and lavish.

The arrangement of Buddhist statues within the painting suggests that this work was painted before the temple fire in 1180, however the painting style reveals that it must have been made in the early Kamakura Period. It may have been painted to record the structure of the temple buildings.

As the oldest existing suija-ku (concept of the unification of Shinto and Buddhism) painting, this Kofukuji Mandala is an extremely valuable work.

Hanging scroll, color on silk
Proportions: 96.8 x 38.8 cm
Kamakura Period (12th-13th Centuries)
Important Cultural Property
AK 129
Kyoto National Museum

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