Japanese Mandalas: Representations of Sacred Geography

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9780824820817: Japanese Mandalas: Representations of Sacred Geography
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The first broad study of Japanese mandalas to appear in a Western language, this volume interprets mandalas as sanctified realms where identification between the human and the sacred occurs. The author investigates eighth- to seventeenth-century paintings from three traditions: Esoteric Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and the kami-worshipping (Shinto) tradition. It is generally recognized that many of these mandalas are connected with texts and images from India and the Himalayas. A pioneering theme of this study is that, in addition to the South Asian connections, certain paradigmatic Japanese mandalas reflect pre-Buddhist Chinese concepts, including geographical concepts. In convincing and lucid prose, ten Grotenhuis chronicles an intermingling of visual, doctrinal, ritual, and literary elements in these mandalas that has come to be seen as characteristic of the Japanese religious tradition as a whole.

This beautifully illustrated work begins in the first millennium B.C.E. in China with an introduction to the Book of Documents and ends in present-day Japan at the sacred site of Kumano. Ten Grotenhuis focuses on the Diamond and Womb World mandalas of Esoteric Buddhist tradition, on the Taima mandala and other related mandalas from the Pure Land Buddhist tradition, and on mandalas associated with the kami-worshipping sites of Kasuga and Kumano. She identifies specific sacred places in Japan with sacred places in India and with Buddhist cosmic diagrams. Through these identifications, the realm of the buddhas is identified with the realms of the kami and of human beings, and Japanese geographical areas are identified with Buddhist sacred geography. Explaining why certain fundamental Japanese mandalas look the way they do and how certain visual forms came to embody the sacred, ten Grotenhuis presents works that show a complex mixture of Indian Buddhist elements, pre-Buddhist Chinese elements, Chinese Buddhist elements, and indigenous Japanese elements.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis, Harvard University and Boston University.

Review:

...Ten Grotenhuis's original and expansive study makes an important contribution to scholarship on Japanese religion and related visual imagery. She provides readers with copious references to religious and art-historical studies in both Asian and Western languages. She also offers thoughtful hypotheses about sources for this Japanese religious imagery and observations on correlations between divergent Buddhist and kami-worshiping traditions. These comments suggest new approaches to consideration of premodern forms of religious worship and their visual expressions in Japan. Consequently, I believe ten Grotenhuis's book will become an indispensable reference to all those interested in deepening their understanding of the uniqueness of the Japanese religious tradition and its related imagery. Patricia J. Graham, University of Kansas -- CAA.reviews September 21, 1999

From most studies on this subject we get the view that mandalas originated in the Indian context and spread to China and Japan. What sets this study apart is the exploration of a Chinese, pre-Buddhist origin for the East Asian concept of mandala. Ten Grotenhuis (Harvard and Boston Univ.) examines the mandalas of Pure Land Buddhism, Esoteric Buddhism, and Shintoism from the eighth to 17th centuries, focusing mainly on paintings. Her pioneering assertion that Japanese mandalas follow Chinese texts on sacred geography will change the way most scholars look at the use of this ritual and sacred art...The book is readable and beautifully presented to the nonspecialist. For the specialist in the fields of religion and art, Buddhism, Asian religions, and comparative religions, ten Grotenhuis presents many avenues for further research. General readers and all academic levels. - L.L. Lam-Easton, California State University, Northridge -- Choice, October 1999, vol. 37, no. 2

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Book Description University of Hawai i Press, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This text presents a study of Japanese mandalas, interpreting them as sanctified realms where identification between the human and sacred occurs. The author investigates 8th to 7th century BC paintings from three traditions - esoteric Buddhism, pure land Buddhism and the Kami-worshipping (Shinto) tradition. A theme of this study is that certain paradigmatic Japanese mandalas reflect pre-Buddhist Chinese concepts, including geographical concepts. The author chronicles the intermingling of visual, doctrinal, ritual and literary elements in these mandalas that has come to be seen as characteristic of the Japanese religious tradition as a whole. The study begins with an introduction to the Book of Documents and ends in present-day Japan, and identifies specific sacred places in Japan with sacred places in India and with Buddhist cosmic diagrams. Explaining why certain fundamental Japanese mandalas look the way they do and how certain visual forms came to embody the sacred, the text shows a complex mixture of Indian Buddhist elements, pre-Buddhist Chinese elements, Chinese Buddhist elements and indigenous Japanese elements. Seller Inventory # POW9780824820817

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Book Description University of Hawai i Press, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This text presents a study of Japanese mandalas, interpreting them as sanctified realms where identification between the human and sacred occurs. The author investigates 8th to 7th century BC paintings from three traditions - esoteric Buddhism, pure land Buddhism and the Kami-worshipping (Shinto) tradition. A theme of this study is that certain paradigmatic Japanese mandalas reflect pre-Buddhist Chinese concepts, including geographical concepts. The author chronicles the intermingling of visual, doctrinal, ritual and literary elements in these mandalas that has come to be seen as characteristic of the Japanese religious tradition as a whole. The study begins with an introduction to the Book of Documents and ends in present-day Japan, and identifies specific sacred places in Japan with sacred places in India and with Buddhist cosmic diagrams. Explaining why certain fundamental Japanese mandalas look the way they do and how certain visual forms came to embody the sacred, the text shows a complex mixture of Indian Buddhist elements, pre-Buddhist Chinese elements, Chinese Buddhist elements and indigenous Japanese elements. Seller Inventory # POW9780824820817

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