Aikuouzan 阿育王山
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: Ayuwangshan. Mt Asoka. A mountain near Hangzhou (Jp: Koushuu 杭州) in Zhejiang (Jp: Sekkou 浙江) province associated with a temple complex of Chan (Jp: Zen 禅) Buddhism. According to legend, in 221 a pagoda was 0built on the mountain to enshrine the relics of the Indian emperor Asoka (Ch: Ayuwang, 272-232 BC), the third Mauryan ruler and the first royal patron of Buddhism. In the early 6c, Wudi (Jp: Butei 武帝, 502-550) of the Liang dynasty built a major temple on the mountain. In the Song period, a Linji (Jp: Rinzai 臨済) Zen seminary flourished there, and the mountain became a pilgrimage center for Zen priests, including priests from Japan. Paintings of Aikuouzan feature a cluster of temple buildings at the base of the cliff and a distinctive pagoda on top. The site was depicted by Japanese painter-priests, such as Sesshuu Touyou 雪舟等楊 (1420-1506) and Shuugetsu 秋月 (ca 1440-1529), who visited the spot, and later, in more idealized versions, by the *Kanouha 狩野派 and *Unkokuha 雲谷派 artists. In the later paintings, Aikuouzan is often paired with *Kinzanji 金山寺 (Ch: Jinshansi).


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