Taima Mandala


Not on view

This Taima mandala offers a resplendent vision of the Western Pure Land, a paradise over which Amida presides and to which he welcomes all beings who call upon his name. Amida sits enthroned at the center of the mandala, flanked by the bodhisattvas Seishi and Kannon and surrounded by throngs of musicians, dancers, celestial beings, and pavilions adorned with jewels. In the lower foreground is a lotus pond in which the faithful are reborn. Surrounding this scene are vignettes from the Contemplation Sutra that teach the living how to attain salvation.

Mandalas of this type are based on Tang-dynasty Chinese images that were transmitted to Japan along with Pure Land Buddhist teachings during the Nara period (710–94). The earliest Japanese version is an eighth-century brocade approximately four times larger than the present mandala, and the primary object of worship at the Taima-dera Temple in Nara. The Museum’s Taima mandala was once worshipped at Shinzenkōji, a temple originally located in western Kyoto.

Taima Mandala, Hanging scroll; color and gold on silk, Japan

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