Kegon Waterfall

Hiroshi Sugimoto Japanese

Not on view

Even before the existence of Kyoto’s shrines and temples, Shinto was an important part of life in Japan. Lacking scriptures, a founding figure, or an established pantheon of gods, the faith regards aspects of nature such as mountains, trees, and waterfalls as dwelling places of the divine. Manifestations of this divine presence, called kami, were worshiped at these sites.

Sugimoto’s black-and-white photograph from 1976 captures Kegon Waterfall seen through mist and framed by dark mountains. Located on the shore of Lake Chūzenji in Nikkō National Park, about one hundred miles northwest of Tokyo, this 315-foot-high waterfall has been revered as a sacred pilgrimage site since time immemorial. The waterfall takes its name from the Kegon-kyō Sutra (Sanskrit: Avatamsaka Sutra), a Buddhist scripture introduced into Japan from China in the eighth century

Kegon Waterfall, Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, born Tokyo, 1948), Hanging scroll; lithograph made from a gelatin silver print, Japan

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