Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Hossō Mandala

Period:
Muromachi period (1392–1573)
Date:
16th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold leaf on silk
Dimensions:
43 1/4 x 19 1/2 in. (109.9 x 49.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Eileen Hsu, 1991
Accession Number:
1991.384
Not on view
This painting is a manifestation of the transmission of Hossō-school teachings from India and China to Japan. One of the eight earliest Buddhist schools, Hossō (Faxiang in Chinese; Dharmalakshana in Sanskrit) was founded by the great monk Genjō (Xuanzang in Chinese; 596–664) and his eminent disciple Kiki, also known as Jion Daishi (Guiji in Chinese; 632–682).

As the legendary founder of the Hossō sect, Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya Bodhisattva) is enshrined as the central deity, facing forward. Depicted against a lozenge-grid background are twenty-three patriarchs of the Hossō school in three-quarter view, arranged symmetrically in two groups, flanking the central image. Each of them can be identified with a name written in a cartouche next to the image. Chinese and Japanese priests appear below the Indian patriarchs. All of the figures are portrayed wearing detailed and colorful garments in a schematic manner that suggests a date of the second half of the sixteenth century for this work.
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