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Hounen@@R
KEY WORD :@art history / iconography
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Commonly known as Hounen Shounin @Rl or St. Hounen (1133-1212), founder of the Pure Land, Joudo y sect in Japan. After early training in Tendai V Buddhism at Enryakuji , at age seventeen Hounen devoted himself to Pure Land teachings, spending the next twenty years reading scriptures. In 1175, Hounen read KANMURYOUJUKYOU SHO ϖʎo` (The Commentary on the Meditation Sutra) by the Chinese Pure Land monk Shandao (Jp; *Zendou P, 613-81) and realized the way to salvation was through the "exclusive recitation of the nenbutsu O, (All Praise to *Amida , Jp; senju nenbutsu CO). The subsequent popularity of Hounen's teaching incurred the wrath of the established sects, who prevailed upon the government to have Hounen exiled to Shikoku l in 1207. In 1211 he was pardoned and returned to the capital, but died two months later. As the leader of a major sect, Hounen was often depicted in solo portraits, and in group portraits as one of the Five Patriarchs of the Pure Land sect *Joudo Goso yܑc. Typically Hounen is shown seated, wearing black robes, and holding a Buddhist rosary. Although the pose is generic, his flattened crown (known as Hounen's head) and broad, full face are distinctive. The best-known portrait, the so-called Ashihiki-no-miei ge (Nison-in 񑸉@, Kyoto) from the first-half of the 13c, shows Hounen seated in meditation. According to legend, the portrait originally showed Hounen with his legs 'ashi ' dangling, as if pulled out of place 'hiki ', but Hounen prayed and the legs in the painting were returned to the sitting posture. Soon after Hounen's death, many narrative handscrolls illustrating the life of the patriarch and the history and benefits of the Joudo sect were produced as a means of proselytizing. The oldest illustrated scroll is the Hounen Shounin Denpou-e @Rl`@G (1237). The original version is lost, but survives in several Muromachi period copies. Another early work is the Hounen Shounin den-e @Rl`G of the late 13c, represented by two fragmentary scrolls in Zoujouji ㎛, Tokyo. Hounen and his disciple *Shinran ea are shown together in the Shuui Kotokuden EÓ` (Supplemented Biographies of the High Priests), best illustrated in the Joufukuji 핟, Ibaraki prefecture (version of 1323). The most complete illustrated biography is the 48 scrolls of the Hounen Shounin eden @RlG`, extant in versions at Chion-in m@ and Taimadera . The scrolls were commissioned by the retired Emperor Gofushimi 㕚 and executed between 1307 and 1317 by official artists of the court atelier *edokoro G. Pictorial biographies of Hounen (usually without text) were painted on large hanging scrolls from the 14c in order to propagate his teachings before large groups of people. Well-known examples include a set of three scrolls in Myougenji (mid-14c) in Aich prefecture.
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