|KEY WORD : art history / iconography|
|An abbreviation of Shinran Shounin 親鸞聖人 (1173-1262), the founder of the New Pure Land sect, Joudo shinshuu 浄土真宗 of Buddhism. Beginning his studies in the Tendai 天台 tradition on Mt. Hiei 比叡, Shinran became *Hounen's 法然 disciple in 1201. Honen taught that through the simple act of faith and practice of the nenbutsu 念仏 (a formulaic chant 'All praise to *Amida 阿弥陀'), anyone, however low in status or great in sin, would be reborn in Amida's Joudo Paradise. This message proved strong competition to the established, older Buddhist sects, which attempted to suppress it. In the nenbutsu persecution of 1264, Shinran was exiled to Echigo 越後 (now Niigata prefecture) where he broke with the old tradition of clerical celibacy and married. In 1211 he moved to Hitachi 常陸 (now Ibaraki prefecture) where he attracted a large following, before returning to Kyoto in 1234. In his principal theoretical work, the KYOUGYOUSHINSHOU 教行信証 (Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment ; 1214), Shinran posits that pure faith is impossible, but that man is saved by the gift of Amida's original vow hongan 本願, and thus recitation of the nenbutsu is only an expression of gratitude not a prerequisite to salvation. Shinran's fame and growing organization of followers led to the production of portraits both during his life and after his death. The famous standing portrait at Nishihonganji 西本願寺, Kyoto, is said to have been painted in the last year of Shinran's life, and is called the Mirror Portrait Kagami-no-goei 鏡御影. Rendered in bold ink lines, it captures Shinran's spiritual strength. More traditional seated images include the Anjou Portrait Anjou-no-goei 安城御影, attributed to priest Chouen 朝円 now at Nishihonganji, and its close copy the Kumakawa Portrait Kumakawa-no-goei 熊皮御影 (14c; Nara National Museum), in which Shinran is depicted seated on a bearskin rug. Although Shinran's pose is similar to that used for portraits of Hounen, Shinran is easily distinguishable by his thin, severe face, and his white muffler and cane placed on the floor. The earliest illustrated narrative scroll of Shinran's biography was edited by his grandson Kakunyo 覚如 (1270-1351) in 1295. There are several variant narrative scrolls: the Nishihonganji version Zenshin shounin-e 善信上人絵, the Senjuji 専修寺 version in Mie prefecture Zenshin Shouin Shinran den-e 善信聖人親鸞伝絵, and the Higashihonganji 東本願寺 version Honganji Shounin Shinran den-e 本願寺聖人親鸞伝絵 of 1346.|
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