Art and Iconography of the Pure Land

Art and Iconography of the Pure Land

  • Sunday, June 2, 2013 | 4:00pm – 6:00pm | Gage Residence, Isabel MacInnes Room

Hyejeong Choi (Ohio State University) “The Visualization of Maitreya’s Pure Land—Mireuksa (629–639 CE), Temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha from the Baekje Dynasty (18 BCE–660 CE), Korea “

The concept of pure land played a significant role in the teachings of the Maitreya faith during the Three Kingdoms period (37 BCE–668 CE), Korea. Especially the Maitreya belief in Baekje dynasty (18 BCE–660 CE) centered on creating a Maitreya pure land within society, where must be an ideal place for the Buddha to be reborn. This paper examines how ancient Koreans understood and visualized the Buddhist pure land teachings through the comprehensive analysis of the Mireuksa (629–639 CE), Temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, which has a unique and unprecedented parallel tripling plan of pagodas and image halls from the Baekje dynasty, Korea.

Zhao Ling (Zhejiang University) “The Gandhāran Origin of Chinese Amitāyus Sukhāvatī Image”

Previously, Amitāyus Skhāvatī image was concerned to be created based on the Buddhist texts by the Chinese people themselves until North Qi Dynasty (6AD). It’s a scene that Amitābha surrounded by bodhisattvas, devas and metaplasias. However, The basic style and key element of Chinese Skhāvatī image was generally nearly isomorphic to the Gandhāran Mohammed Nari stele in the 4th century. Moreover, there was a present of the great miracle or Skhāvatī paradise of Amitāyus on this stele maintained controversy. Nevertheless, the iconographic type of Mohammed Nari stele could be argued that Chinese Skhāvatī image was originated from Gandhāra.

Chieko Nakano (University of Arizona) “The Praxis of kechien in emaki Picture Scrolls in Medieval Japan”

Various Buddhist schools, notably Pure Land, produced numerous emaki picture scrolls during the Kamakura period. Previous scholarships examined this phenomenon as a didactic and proselytizing endeavor. However, I argue that production and consumption of emaki were regarded as valid and legitimate religious practices, especially in the age of mappō. People believed that once they had formed a kechien, karmic affinity, with the subject of emaki through its production and viewing, they would be reborn into the Pure Land and ultimately achieve enlightenment sometime in the future. Furthermore, emaki provided sight/site where they could strengthen kechien and improve conditions for enlightenment.