Kusha mandara 倶舎曼荼羅
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
A painting illustrating the tradition of the ABIDATSUMA KUSHARON 阿毘達磨倶舎論 (Sk:Abhidharmakos'a), a renowned compendium of Buddhist doctrine also known by the abbreviated title of KUSHARON 倶舎論. Although not a mandala *mandara 曼荼羅, in the strict sense of the term, it is nevertheless generally referred to as Kusha mandara. The *Shaka sanzon 釈迦三尊 consisting of *Shaka 釈迦 flanked by *Fugen 普賢 and *Monju 文殊 is depicted in the center with Shaka's two main disciples Anan 阿難 (Sk:Ananda) and Daikashou 大迦葉 (Sk:Mahakasyapa) standing behind them, while Seshin 世親 (Sk: Vasubandhu), the author of the KUSHARON, his rival Shuuken 衆賢 (Sk:Samghabhadra), and the six scholars Seyuu 世友 (Sk:Vasumitra), Daibasetsuma 提婆設摩 (Sk: Devasarma), Sharihotsu 舎利弗 (Sk:Sariputra), Mokukenren 目けん連 (Sk:Maudgalyayana), Kataennishi 迦多延尼子 (Sk:Katyayanipitra) and Kataenna 迦多演那 (Sk:Katayana), all believed to have composed doctrinal treatises predating the KUSHARON, are arranged in a semicircle in the foreground. In addition, the Four Guardian Kings *shitennou 四天王 are depicted in the four cardinal directions and the gods *Bonten 梵天 and *Taishakuten 帝釈天 in lower left- and right-hand corners. The only known example of the Kusha mandara is that preserved at Toudaiji 東大寺, Nara. It is considered to reflect the revival of KUSHARON studies at Toudaiji in the 12c, and it has been pointed out that the iconographical features of the Shaka sanzon in the center show the influence of the Hokkedou Konpon Mandara 法華堂根本曼荼羅 formerly belonging to Toudaiji but at present kept at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts .


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