The Journey

Kumano Shrine Mandala

  • 69
  • Japan
  • Nanbokucho period (1336–92)
  • Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk
  • H. 52 x W. 22 7/8 in. (131.9 x 57.9 cm)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Gift of Dr. Mortimore D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, 2006, 2006.521
  • Kumano Shrines (Hongu)
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This mandala is divided into three registers. From top to bottom these signify the northern mountain peaks, with Shinto and Buddhist deities; thirteen Buddhas and bodhisattvas who appeared in Japan as Shinto deities; and hills abutting the Pacific Ocean with Shinto and Buddhist deities. The major Buddhist progenitors of the three shrines at the Kumano complex appear in the bottom row of deities in the middle register: Amitabha (Amida in Japanese) on the right; Bhaishajyaguru (Yakushi) in the middle; and Avalokiteshvara (Kannon) on the left. The deities in the two rows above these three are associated with Kumano's subsidiary shrines. The figures in the landscape below represent shrines along the Kumano pilgrimage route where pilgrims stop as they make their journeys.

PHOTO CREDIT: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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