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Title: Pictures of Patriarchs:The Illustrated Life and Acts of Honen
Authors: Kehoe, Sinead Rebecca Clare
Advisors: Shimizu, Yoshiaki
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: emaki
Pure Land
Subjects: Art history
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: PICTURES OF PATRIARCHS: THE ILLUSTRATED LIFE AND ACTS OF HÔNEN ABSTRACT This dissertation is a study of the Illustrated Life and Acts of Hônen, a set of forty-eight handscrolls with over 460 alternating sections of text and illustration. The scrolls document the activities of Hônen (Hônen-bô Genkû, 1133-1212), the monk who founded the Pure Land School of Buddhism in Japan in the late twelfth century. The set holds a unique place in the history of Japanese illustrated handscrolls; from a structural perspective, it is the most complex extant set of handscrolls. Rather than conceived of and executed as a complete composition, the set was pieced together utilizing the fruits of a previous project. The scrolls also represent the culmination of a century of textual and visual development, the stages of which have been traced through surviving examples of earlier versions of the biography. Art historians often extract scenes from the scrolls' copious paintings to illustrate what might be a faithful representation of a specific architectural structure or religious ritual known to us otherwise through texts alone. Others have engaged deeply with comparisons of the texts and illustrations of the set to those of earlier versions of the narrative. Almost none have taken up the scrolls as an art historical subject in and of themselves. This study advances our present knowledge of the mammoth set through new visual analysis of its paintings and texts, as well as its calligraphy. The study contributes to our understanding by proposing a partial reconstruction of the production narrative of the work. Further, the study promotes the scrolls as an important tool in the study of the image-types central to the establishment of the visual identity of Pure Land Buddhist organizations in Japan, portraiture and illustrated biographical narrative.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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