gokoushii Amida 五劫思惟阿弥陀
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Also read gokoushiyui Amida. Lit. *Amida 阿弥陀 Meditating for Five Kalpas, a kalpa (sometimes aeon) representing an extremely long period of time. To represent the passage of this time Amida is represented with unexpectedly large amounts of hair. Many years before Amida resided in his gokuraku 極楽 paradise, in his former incarnation as the monk Houzou 法蔵 he contemplated for five kalpas and made vows to save mankind. Because he did not touch his hair during this long period of contemplation, his spiral hair *rahotsu 螺髪 grew long on the top and sides of his head. Two mudras common to this seated image are *mida-no-jouin 弥陀定印 and *gasshou 合掌. These images are said to have been a new type of Song dynasty Chinese image imported into Japan by Chougen 重源 (1121-1206). A well-known Kamakura period example is preserved in Gokouin 五劫院, Toudaiji 東大寺, Nara.


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