Kamatari 鎌足
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
The subject of a number of paintings in the possession of Danzan Jinja 談山神社 on Tounomine 多武峯 in Nara. Kamatari is a deity derived from Fujiwara no Kamatari 藤原鎌足 (614-69) who was originally of the Nakatomi 中臣 clan, and the first to bear the surname Fujiwara. The Danzan Jinja paintings show Kamatari in court dress and some include his son Fuhito 不比等 (659-720) and his adopted son, a monk who is thought to have been the founder of Danzan Myourakuji 談山妙楽寺 (see below). Kamatari was linked with *Yuima 維摩 and a ceremony at Koufukuji 興福寺 in Nara, reenacted the debate between Yuima and *Monju 文殊 which was written in the sutra YUIMAGYOU 維摩経. Kamatari was also identified as Kinzoku nyorai 金粟如来, a previous incarnation of Yuima, and his sons were associated with Monju and *Fugen 普賢. Thus some paintings show Kamatari and his sons with these Buddhist counterparts *honjibutsu 本地仏. Fujiwara no Kamatari played a major role in government as a powerful advisor to and later minister in the regime of Emperor Tenji 天智 (627-71). His son Fuhito and grandsons further strengthened the family's position, and particularly the northern house, Hokke 北家 became dominant in politics during the 10 and 11c, see *Fujiwara jidai 藤原時代. The main Fujiwara temple in Nara, Koufukuji was considered a successor of Kamatari's personal temple, Yamashinadera 山階寺, and certain images and ceremonies at Koufukuji, were linked to Kamatari.


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