kaigen kuyou 開眼供養
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also abbreviated to kaigen or kaigan 開眼, nyuugan, jugan, or jugen 入眼. Lit. eye-opening ceremony. A ceremony to consecrate a newly made Buddhist image in which an officiating priest paints in the pupils of the eyes of the Buddha. It is believed that the soul enters the statue or painting. The image is thus passed symbolically from the hands of the artist to the temple. The priest who paints in the dot of the pupil is called the kaigenshi 開眼師. The ceremony usually takes place when the statue or painting is installed in the temple after all other decoration is completed. A famous example of kaigen kuyou is known as daibutsu kaigen kuyou 大仏開眼供養 or daibutsu kaigen 大仏開眼, the consecration ceremony for the Great Buddha of Nara (see *daibutsu 大仏), in 752. It was the first kaigen kuyou ceremony held in Japan, and some of the masks, costumes and utensils used, including the brush for the eye-opening, are preserved in Nara's *Shousouin 正倉院. The ceremony was attended by the Emperor Shoumu 聖武, the Empress Koumyou 光明, and other officials. Monks assembled from all around the country to chant the sutra, and the kaigenshi (officiating priest) was a Brahman priest from India. The daibutsu kaigen kuyou is recorded to have been a magnificent event, with Emperor Kouken 孝謙 and previous retired emperors also in attendance, as well as many experts in all branches of the arts and military.


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.