nijuuhasshuku 二十八宿
KEY WORD : art history / iconography
Lit. 28 lunar mansions. In the astronomical theory of both ancient India and China the path of the moon during a single lunation was divided into28 (in India initially 27) segments, to each of which a particular constellation was assigned, and the 28 lunar mansions refer to the 28 constellations through which the moon passes during a single lunar month. These (with the exception of Gyuushuku 牛宿) are in turn superimposed upon the 12 hours juunikyuu 十二宮 into which the zodiacal belt is divided. Although originally a calendrical convention, the 28 lunar mansions also came to play an important role in astrology and were adopted as sidereal divinities in Esoteric Buddhism. As such they appear in the Gekongoubu-in 外金剛部印 of the Womb World Mandala *Taizoukai mandara 胎蔵界曼荼羅 in the form of celestial maidens (seven in each quarter) and also in the *hokuto mandara 北斗曼荼羅. Their names in the order that they appear in the Taizoukai mandara (starting from the east) are as follows: Boushuku 昴宿 (Sk: Krttika), Hisshuku 畢宿 (Rohini), Shishuku 觜宿 (Mrgasiras), Sanshuku 参宿 (Ardra), Seishuku 井宿 (Punarvasu), Kishuku 鬼宿 (Pusya), Ryuushuku 柳宿 (Aslesa), Seishuku 星宿 (Magha), Shinshuku 軫宿 (Hasta), Kouhuku 亢宿 (Svati), Choushuku 張宿 (Purvaphalguni), Yokushuku 翼宿 (Uttaraphalguni), Kakushuku 角宿 (Citra), Teishuku てい宿 (Visakha), Joshuku 女宿(Sravana), Toshuku 斗宿 (Uttarasadha), Gyuushuku (Abhijit), Kishuku 箕宿 (Purvasadha), Bishuku 尾宿 (Mula), Shinshuku 心宿 (Jyestha), Boushuku 房宿 (Anuradha), Kyoshuku 虚宿 (Dhanistha), Kishuku 危宿 (Satabhisaj), Shisshuku 室宿 (Purvabhadrapada), Keishuku 奎宿 (Revati), Hekishuku 壁宿 (Uttarabhadrapada), Roushuku 婁宿 (Asvini), and Ishuku 胃宿 (Bharani).


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