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National Treasure Gallery: Hoke Kyo (Lotus Sutra), Kunoji Version, Hoben bon and Hiyu hon chapters

"National Treasure Gallery: Hoke Kyo (Lotus Sutra), Kunoji Version, Hoben bon and Hiyu hon chapters"

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 2  August 23, 2016 (Tue) - September 19, 2016 (Mon)

  
Hoke kyo (Lotus Sutra), Kunoji Version, Hiyu hon chapter (detail), Heian period, 12th century (National Treasure, Lent by Tesshuji, Shizuoka)

This set of the Lotus Sutra has been preserved at Kunoji temple (now Tesshuji) in Shizuoka, and is known as the Kunoji version. Originally the set consisted of 30 scrolls: the main text of the Lotus Sutra in 28 scrolls together with the opening and closing sutras. Each of the scrolls was transcribed by a different person, together wishing for rebirth in the Buddhist paradise, or Pure Land. The names of the calligraphers, written at the end of each scroll, indicate that the production of this decorative sutra was connected with the cloistered emperor Toba (1103–56), his empress, Taikenmonin Shoshi (1101–45), and one of his concubines, Bifukumonin Tokushi (1117–60). Furthermore, since many of the calligraphers were associated with Taikenmonin, it is highly possible that the work was completed in the second month of 1142 (Eiji 2), when she became a Buddhist nun.
The sutra text of the “Hiyu hon” chapter was written by Fujiwara no Sadanobu (1088–after 1154), the head of a lineage of prominent calligraphers, the Sesonji family. His handwriting style, with characteristic strokes that proceeded upward and to the right, gained much popularity in later times.
The papers are dyed in different colors, embellished with scattered pieces of gold and silver leaf, and also painted with patterns in gold and silver pigment. Delicate textiles such as ra silk gauze are used for the front cover, and the frontispieces are also extravagantly decorated, some with paintings portraying the Heian aristocrats. People believed that the more extravagant the decoration, the closer they came to their wishes being fulfilled.
We hope visitors will savor the elaborate beauty of decorated sutras through this masterpiece of the late Heian period.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 2 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
_MD_RECOMMEND National Treasure Hoke kyo (Lotus Sutra), Kunoji Version, Hoben bon chapter Heian period, 12th century Lent by Tesshuji, Shizuoka
_MD_RECOMMEND National Treasure Hoke kyo (Lotus Sutra), Kunoji Version, Hiyu hon chapter Heian period, 12th century Lent by Tesshuji, Shizuoka