Genjou 玄奘
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Ch: Xuanzhuang (600/2-664). A Chinese monk of the Tang Dynasty and the founder of the Hossou sect (see *Hossou rokuso 法相六祖). In 629 Genjou decided to go to India to obtain the Buddhist scriptures, visited numerous Buddhist sites, returned in 645, and translated a large number of sutras into Chinese. His diary is still an important source of information about the places he visited in Central Asia and India at that time. Stories about him, such as DAITOU SAIIKIKI 大唐西域記 (The Journey to the West, 12 vols. compiled in 646), provided more exciting details. A 13c manuscript of the Song version of the tale is preserved in Kouzanji 高山寺, Kyoto. In paintings Genjou is shown with a large backpack containing the 600 scrolls of the DAIHANNYAKYOU 大般若経 (Great Wisdom Sutra). The scroll ends can be seen in the side of the pack. He is associated particularly with the Hannya 般若 (Wisdom) texts and, in folklore, with the magical power of the HANNYA SHINGYOU 般若心経 (Heart Sutra), the shortest of the Hannya texts. He is often included in the painting of *Juuroku zenshin 十六善神 (the Sixteen Protectors of the sutra). Genjou is also sometimes shown seated with a sutra book in his hands. His biography is illustrated in handscrolls entitled Genjou sanzou emaki 玄奘三蔵絵巻.


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