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Arichi, Meri (2002) Hie-Sanno mandara : The iconography of Kami and sacred landscape in medieval Japan. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study on Hie-Sanno mandara from medieval Japan examines the pictorial representations of the kami and the landscape of the Hie Shrine, and considers the religious, historical, and cultural constituents that formed the iconography of Shinto-Buddhist mandara. The cult of Hie-Sanno flourished during the medieval periods in close association with the Enryaku-ji on Mt.Hiei, the historic sanctuary of Tendai Buddhism. The kami of the Hie Shrine, Sanno Gongen, were perceived as the protectors of the temple, and the images of Sanno Gongen developed under a strong Buddhist influence. The wide dissemination of the honji-suijaku theory, particularly during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), encouraged the development of a new genre of religious paintings that are distinguished from the authentic Buddhist mandalas by the term Shinto-Buddhist mandara. They exemplify the nature of the medieval Japanese religiosity in which various elements from the indigenous belief, the Buddhist philosophy, and the Daoist tradition were entwined in a complex web of associations. In this study, examples of Hie-Sanno mandara are categorized according to their subject matters into three basic types, honji-butsu mandara, suijaku mandara, and miya mandara. The visual images are naturally the central concern, but in order to elucidate the iconography of mandara, I have adopted an interdisciplinary approach and referred to studies in religion, history, and literature as well as art history and archaeology. The first chapter provides the historical background to the development of the Hie-Sanno cult, and the second and third chapters examine the iconography of the kami, while the fourth and fifth chapters discuss the iconography of landscape and attempt to define the concept of sacred space in historical context. Each chapter focuses on particular images that reflect the philosophical and functional requirements of the period, and where necessary, comparisons and references were made to relevant contemporary images.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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