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Helen Hardacre

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190621711

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190621711.001.0001

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Medieval Shinto and the Arts

Medieval Shinto and the Arts

(p.177) 6 Medieval Shinto and the Arts

Helen Hardacre

Oxford University Press

Examines Shinto art, literature, dance-drama, and aspects of architecture to uncover medieval Shinto’s devotional patterns. New architectural spaces were created for encountering “foreign” deities, to transform them into beneficent Kami, and enable practitioners to absorb their power. New interpretations of Nihon shoki myth emerged, along with tale literature, shrine mandalas, and the monumental work of twenty illustrated scrolls called Kasuga Gongen Genki-e, portraying the Kami as compassionately leading humanity to salvation. Mandalas pictured shrines as Pure Lands, giving pictorial form to the idea of Kami and Buddhas as ultimately the same. The shinkoku idea assumed a personal guise in that the people of the divine land were believed descended from the Kami, and to lack for nothing required for salvation.

Keywords:   Kasuga Gongen Genki-e, shinkoku, Nihon shoki, foreign deities, Kami and salvation, shrine mandala, Pure Lands, medieval shrine architecture, diversification of the pantheon

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