Bulletin of the Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University. Part. II, Arts and science education Issue 59
2010-12-24 発行


A Study of The Niga Byakudo-zu owned by the Yakushiji Temple in Nara
Takamura, Keiko
Niga Byakudo-zu are Buddhist paintings based on the Parable of the Two Rivers explained in the "Guan Wu Liang Shou Jing Su," a text by the Pure Land thinker Shandao written in the early Tang era of China. In Japan, they came to be painted from the Kamakura period onward, coinciding with the spread of the Pure Land faith. Currently some dozen or so precedents, reaching back to the medieval period, are known. The Niga Byakudo-zu owned by the Yakushiji Temple (hereafter abbreviated as "the Yakushiji bon"), is thought to have been produced during the Nanbokucho period due to the techniques and imagery used in it. Compared with other Niga Byakudo-zu, the design characteristics of the Yakushiji bon are its somewhat simplified depiction of the parable, the golden lotus pond surrounding the pedestals on which the Amida triad sits in the Pure Land paradise, and the silhouettes of bodhisattva on the pedestal steps. In this paper, we will look at the Yakushiji bon, which has until now never been the subject of serious research, in order to clarify its attributes and significance, based on clues provided by problems in its design and imagery. We will see that within the primary context of the Parable of the Two Rivers, the Yakushiji bon references not only the "Guan Wu Liang Shou Jing Su," but also the main ideas of the Joudo Sanbukyou, and the design of the Chikou Mandala, and thus incorporates their doctrinal significance into the parable.
Niga Byakudo-zu
the Yakushiji Temple
Chikou Mandala