Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

親鸞上人絵伝
The Illustrated Life of Shinran (Shinran shōnin eden)

Artist:
Unidentified Artist
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
17th–18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Set of four hanging scrolls; ink, color, and gold on silk
Dimensions:
Each approx.: 52 1/4 x 30 1/2 in. (132.7 x 77.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, in honor of James C. Y. Watt, 2010
Accession Number:
2010.366a–d
Not on view
The lives of monks, who strove to model themselves after the Buddha, were a popular source for illustrated narratives. The first biography of Shinran (1173–1263), who founded the True Pure Land (Jōdo Shinshū ) sect, was written by his grandson Kakunyo (1270–1351). Illustrated versions of the story appeared first in the handscroll format and later as hanging scrolls. The latter were displayed in temple halls during the annual memorial service commemorating Shinran’s death. The entire set of scrolls was made visible to the public, allowing all the episodes in Shinran’s life to be seen at the same time, while a monk recited the story aloud—a type of performance known as etoki (picture explaining).

The narrative here progresses chronologically from right to left, bottom to top. Scenes are divided by horizontal bands of cloud.
Related Objects

Monk Reading a Sutra by Moonlight

Date: ca. 1332 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on paper Accession: 1982.3.2 On view in:Not on view

A Summer Idyll

Medium: Hanging scroll; ink on silk, 3 columns in large running-cursive script Accession: 1989.363.31 On view in:Not on view

Guanyin Bestowing a Son

Date: late 16th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk Accession: 1989.152 On view in:Not on view

Folding Fan with Fishing Net Decoration

Date: late 16th–early 17th century Medium: Folding fan; ink on gold-flecked paper and gold-flecked lacquered bamboo fanbones and endpieces Accession: 1988.212 On view in:Not on view

Guanyin as the Nine-Lotus Bodhisattva

Date: 1593 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 18.139.2 On view in:Not on view