Exhibitions/ 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

Rice Culture, or Sowing and Reaping

Date: before 1353 Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2005.277 On view in:Not on view

Map of the Grand Canal from Beijing to the Yangzi River

Date: late 18th or early 19th century Medium: Handscroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2003.417 On view in:Not on view

Portrait of a Warrior

Date: late 16th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 2004.309 On view in:Not on view

Pair of Belt Plaques with Winged Horses

Date: 1st century A.D. Medium: Gilded bronze Accession: 24.174.6, .7 On view in:Not on view

Books and Scholars' Possessions

Date: early 20th century Medium: Ten-panel folding screen; ink and color on silk Accession: 2005.385 On view in:Not on view