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rokudou-e@ZG
KEY WORD :@art history / iconography
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Also occasionally read rikudou-e. Lit. six paths.
Paintings of the six paths rokudou Z of existence are also called the six realms rokushu Z of reincarnation. According to Buddhist thought, all living beings are caught in an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth into one of the six realms being re-born up or down the scale according to the extent or lack of one's purity and good deeds in the previous existence. One can escape only by achieving enlightenment.
Described in numerous texts including the Lotus Sutra HOKEKYOU @،o, the six realms are: hells jigoku n (Sk:naraka), hungry ghosts *gaki S (Sk:preta), animals chikushou { (Sk:tiryasyoni), bellicose demons *Ashura C (Sk:Asura), humans jin l (Sk:manusya), and heavenly beings *ten V (Sk:deva).
Buddhists provide four additional realms for enlightened beings: sravaka arhats shoumon , pratyeka buddhas engaku o, bodhisattvas *bosatsu F, and Buddhas hotoke . These can be combined with the six realms to form the ten worlds which are also depicted in painting (see *jikkai-zu \E}). The concept of reincarnation in realms originated with Indian ideas of five realms goshu ܎ (Sk:gati), which excluded Ashura.
Early Indian depictions of the five realms are found at Ajanta such as cave #17 (late 5c). Illustrations of the six realms from 8-9c survive in China at Dunhuang (Jp: Tonkou ).
The earliest Japanese depictions consist of hell scenes that are found in Nara period (8c) paintings related to *Kannon ω, such as the hairline engraving *kebori ђ on the halo *kouhai w (Nara National Museum) of the principal image *Juuichimen Kannon \ʊω of *Nigatsudou 񌎓 in Toudaiji 厛. From the 9-10c, Pure Land joudo y theologians vividly write of the torments of the six realms so as to make salvation by *Amida Buddha and the rewards of his paradise all the more desirable. Screens showing hell scenes were used in a ceremony called butsumyou-e at the imperial palace. The Essentials of Salvation OUJOU YOUSHUU vW, written by Genshin M (942-1017) in 985, became very popular among Fujiwara nobles and greatly influenced the creation of pictures of the six realms. A set of fifteen hanging scrolls at Shoujuraigouji O} (13c) in Shiga prefecture, visualizes Genshin's description of the rokudou, devoting four scrolls each for the realms of humans and hells. In the turbulent dislocations of the late 12c, religious patrons and artists seemed particularly interested in visualizations of the realms of hells and hungry ghosts. The Hell Scrolls Jigoku zoushi n (1180's, Tokyo National Museum and Nara National Museum) and Hungry Ghost Scroll Gaki zoushi S (1180's, Kyoto Natioanl Museum) are well known, and sometimes the term rokudou-e in the narrowest sense of the term indicates these handscrolls *emaki G. From the Kamakura period *Jizou n often took the place of Amida, to act as savior from the six realms, and depictions of rescue from hells are often found in the scrolls of stories related to Jizou.
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