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Mandala of the Womb World (Taizokai Mandara), one of a pair of Mandalas of the Two Worlds (Ryokai Mandara)
両界曼荼羅 江戸時代後期 掛幅一対 絹本着色
Place of Origin: Japan
Date: approx. 1800-1868
Historical Period: Edo period (1615-1868)
Object Name: Hanging scroll
Materials: Ink and colors on silk
Dimensions: H. 41 in x W. 35 1/2 in, H. 104.1 cm x W. 90.2 cm (image); H. 73 1/2 in x W. 46 in, H. 186.7 cm x W. 116.8 cm (overall)
Credit Line: Gift of Gary Snyder
Department: Japanese Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2004.7
On Display: No

Description

Label:

What is a mandala? The examples displayed here might be described as "cosmograms"—pictorial diagrams of the cosmological path to enlightenment as described in Buddhist scriptures. Mandalas are closely associated with the Shingon and Tendai schools of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism—a form of Buddhism that is related to the Tantric Buddhism of the Himalayan region. The mandalas shown here were carefully copied after the oldest surviving color mandalas in Japan, a pair dating to the 800s that was kept in Toji temple in Kyoto. Those in turn were copied from earlier Chinese models.

How were mandalas used in Buddhist practice? Traditionally, mandalas have been described as visualization aids for meditation by monks in training. The two paintings reveal the process of human enlightenment, respectively, through innate reason (ri) and knowledge (chi). Some scholars argue, however, that they have been less important as meditation aids than as ritual objects within particular religious traditions.

These mandalas were donated to the museum by Pulitzer-Prize winning writer Gary Snyder (American, b. 1930), who lived in a Zen monastery in Japan for many years and studied various forms of Buddhism, including Shingon esotericism. He acquired these mandalas in 1967.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Sights Unseen: Recent Acquisitions", Tateuchi Gallery, September 2, 2006 - March 25, 2007

"Flower Power", Asian Art Museum, 6/23/2017-10/1/2017
Label:

What is a mandala? The examples displayed here might be described as "cosmograms"—pictorial diagrams of the cosmological path to enlightenment as described in Buddhist scriptures. Mandalas are closely associated with the Shingon and Tendai schools of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism—a form of Buddhism that is related to the Tantric Buddhism of the Himalayan region. The mandalas shown here were carefully copied after the oldest surviving color mandalas in Japan, a pair dating to the 800s that was kept in Toji temple in Kyoto. Those in turn were copied from earlier Chinese models.

How were mandalas used in Buddhist practice? Traditionally, mandalas have been described as visualization aids for meditation by monks in training. The two paintings reveal the process of human enlightenment, respectively, through innate reason (ri) and knowledge (chi). Some scholars argue, however, that they have been less important as meditation aids than as ritual objects within particular religious traditions.

These mandalas were donated to the museum by Pulitzer-Prize winning writer Gary Snyder (American, b. 1930), who lived in a Zen monastery in Japan for many years and studied various forms of Buddhism, including Shingon esotericism. He acquired these mandalas in 1967.


Exhibition History: "Sights Unseen: Recent Acquisitions", Tateuchi Gallery, September 2, 2006 - March 25, 2007

"Flower Power", Asian Art Museum, 6/23/2017-10/1/2017