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nehan-zu@ϐ}
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Lit. nirvana painting. A genre of painting that depicts the death of the historical Buddha *Shaka ߉, and his full and complete entrance into the state or perfect peace known as nirvana nehan . His death is therefore referred to as parinirvana daihatsu nehan ʟ or complete nirvana. Shaka's death is counted among the eight major events in his life (see *Shaka hassou ߉ޔ), and artistic representations of his death scene show Shaka in a recumbent pose. This reclining position is represented with statues, reliefs, murals, paintings and other forms in all Buddhist countries. In Japan the oldest extant example is a clay statue at Houryuuji @ in Nara from 711. Paintings became the preferred form of representation in Japan because they were used for the nehan-e ω or nirvana rite performed annually on the fifteenth day of the second month in memory of Shaka's death. These paintings generally depict Shaka lying on his right side on a couch below sal trees sara souju o and surrounded by mourners, traditionally said to comprise 52 kinds of beings that include his disciples, bodhisattvas *bosatsu F, gods, lay people, animals and his mother Mahamaya, Maya bunin vl hastening down from the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods *Sanjuusanten O\OV. Although the nehan-e was already being performed in the late Nara period, the oldest and finest extant example of a related painting is that at Kongoubuji (Mt. Kouya in Wakayama prefecture,1086). Other examples from the Heian period include those at Tokyo National Museum; Shin'yakushiji Vt, Darumaji B and Souyuuji @S in Nara. There is an enormous reclining Buddha painting from the early Muromachi period at Toufukuji in Kyoto (approximately 14.6m x 7.3m). In a variation of this genre called Shaka hassou nehan-zu ߉ޔϐ} (painting of Shaka's eight-phase nirvana) the remaining seven major events in Shaka's life (or incidents relating to his death) are depicted around the central death scene, while an episode relating to his mother Mahamaya's descent from heaven to Shaka's deathbed is the subject matter of the *kinkan shutsugen-zu o}.
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