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Erberto F. Lo Bue

[Skt Bodhnāthā; Newari Khāstī; Tib. Bya-rung-kha-shor]

Stupa site 7 km east of Kathmandu, Nepal. The stupa (h. 45 m, diam. 90 m) is the largest of its kind in the Kathmandu Valley. Its great plinth consists of three broad terraces of intersected squares and rectangles forming a platform of 20 angles (Skt viṃśatikona), one of the canonical forms prescribed by the Kriyāsaṃgraha. The dome has a hemispherical shape; its base is decorated by a series of stone images framed in small niches.

Newar chronicles ascribe the construction of the stupa at Bodhnath to the Lichchhavi king Manadeva I (reg c. ad 464–505). The original mound subsequently fell into a state of neglect and, according to later Tibetan tradition, the site became a cemetery. The stupa is mentioned again in the 14th-century Tibetan religious epic Padma thang-yig in connection with events taking place in the second half of the 8th century ad. It was excavated and entirely rebuilt by the Tibetan master ...


Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

[Kinbusenji; Kinrinji; Kinrinnōji; Zaōdō]

Japanese Buddhist temple complex in the district of Yoshino, Nara Prefecture. It lies in the Kinpusen, a chain of foothills that extends between the Yoshino and Ōmine mountains.

Kinpusenji was traditionally founded by the semi-legendary ascetic En no Ozunu (En no Gyōja; fl late 7th century ad–early 8th), but it was more probably established later in the 8th century as a seat for the increasingly popular ascetic movement, Shugendō. It may have been founded by Gyōki (ad 668–749), a monk from the temple Tōdaiji in Nara. With the arrival in Kinpusen of Shōbō (ad 832–909), a Shingon-sect monk who founded Daigoji, Kinpusenji emerged as the centre of Shugendō (see Japan §II 7.), an eclectic form of worship that combines elements of Shinto and Esoteric Buddhism, notably mountain worship and asceticism. It is said that the ferocious Zaō Gongen, the tutelary deity of Shugendō—believed by devotees to be capable of suppressing all evil—appeared in the Kinpusen, and he was chosen by En no Ozunu as the appropriate form of the historical Buddha (Jap. Shaka; Skt Shakyamuni) for manifestation among men; the famous cherry trees of the Yoshino Mountains are still believed to be the sacred abode of Zaō Gongen. The present temple is a modest ensemble of about 40 buildings, mostly modern reconstructions, covering ...



Barry Till

[sku ’bum (‘a thousand images’); Chin. Taer si]

Monastery complex c. 26 km north-east of Xining, Qinghai Province, China. Kumbum is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, as it marks the birthplace of Tsong Khapa (1357–1419), who founded the sect. Construction of a small monastery called Shardzong on this spot took place between 1560 and 1577. The original monastery underwent several enlargements in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the more recent buildings spreading around the ancient nucleus to cover an area of c. 44 ha. The buildings of the monastery display a harmonious combination of Tibetan and Chinese architectural features; Chinese-style glazed-tile roofs mingle with Tibetan-style flat roofs and gilded sheet-metal roofs (see Tibet §V 6., (ii)). The numerous structures, which rest on solid foundations, include chanting and assembly halls, verandahs and annexe halls, chortens, or stupas, and living quarters for monks. At the front of the lamasery are eight white chortens called the Eight Tathagata Stupas (h. 6 m; built ...



Kirit Mankodi

Capital of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Located near the River Indus on an ancient trade route between India, Tibet and China, Leh is notable for a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, known as the Tsemo Gompa, and the Lechen Pelkar palace and fort, all erected under the Namgyel rulers of the 16th–17th centuries. Among the buildings of the Tsemo Gompa is the Temple of the Guardian Deities, built by Tashi Namgyel in the 16th century, which contains images of the fierce protector Mahakala, Vaishravana (one of the four heavenly kings), the Great Goddess and another fierce guardian (yet to be identified). Also in the Tsemo Gompa, the Maitreya Temple contains a celebrated three-storey-high figure of the Future Buddha flanked by the bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri; the shrine may date to the 16th century, but it has been extensively renovated in recent times. The palace is a ruined nine-storey structure set on a hill north-east of the town; founded by ...



Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan

[Nagarasan Onjōji; Miidera; Jimon]

Buddhist temple in the city of Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. Onjōji occupies c. 79 ha at the southern foot of Mt Hiei, near the south-western shore of Lake Biwa. It is the head temple of the Jimon branch, one of the two major branches of the Tendai sect of Esoteric Buddhism (mikkyō). The Shinra Jinja (Shinra Shrine) is its principal tutelary Shinto shrine.

Temple tradition holds that Onjōji owes its foundation to Prince Ōtomo no Yataō (fl late 7th century ad), who commissioned the temple in 686 (as recorded in the mid-12th century Fusō ryakki) to fulfil a deathbed wish expressed by his father, Emperor Kōbun (reg 671–2). The age of roof tiles excavated at Onjōji is consistent with a late 7th-century date for at least part of the complex, but most scholars attribute the 686 foundation date to later Onjōji archivists determined to undermine the legitimacy of the rival monastic hierarchy at ...


Ken Brown

[Sekkei; Hinrakusai; Gen’ei]

(b Utsunomiya, Shimotsuke Prov. [now Tochigi Prefect.]; fl c. 1478–1506; d c. 1518).

Japanese Zen priest and painter. A scribe at Kenchōji in Kamakura, he is often called Kei shoki (‘Clerk Kei’). He first studied painting with Chūan Shinkō (fl c. 1444–57) at Kenchōji, then journeyed to Kyoto in 1478 to study with Shingei Geiami (see Ami family, §2). In 1480 he returned to Kamakura with Geiami’s Kanbakuzu (‘Viewing a Waterfall’; 1480; Tokyo, Nezu A. Mus.), given to him by the artist as a parting gift. Shōkei’s training with Shinkō and Geiami, as well as his exposure in Kyoto to Chinese Song (ad 960–1279) and Yuan-period (1279–1368) painting in the shogunal collection, led him to paint in a remarkable range of styles. Shōkei’s Umazu (‘Horses and Grooms’; Tokyo, Nezu. A. Mus.), for instance, reflects his intimate knowledge of the Yuan painter Ren Renfas works on the same subject. He is also often associated with the stylistic tradition of ...


Stephen Addiss

[Takuan Shūhō]

(b Izushi Prov. [now Hyōgō Prefect.], 1573; d Edo [now Tokyo], 1645).

Japanese Zen monk, painter and calligrapher. One of the most influential monks of the early 17th century, he was a painter and calligrapher in the Zen tradition (see Japan §VI 4., (vii)). He was born to a farming family and entered the Buddhist order at the age of eight, later studying Zen with the master Shun’oku Sōen (1529–1611) at the Rinzai-sect Zen temple Daitokuji in Kyoto. Impressing his fellow monks with the depth of his spirit and rigour of his practice, Takuan was made abbot of the temple at the unprecedented age of 36. However, he left the temple shortly afterwards to begin a long spell of travelling, during which he raised funds for the renovation of Daitokuji and other Zen temples. In 1629, however, Takuan was banished to northern Japan by the Tokugawa shogunate because he protested at its interference in temple matters. When his banishment ended after about three years, he was invited by Tokugawa Iemitsu (...



Henrik H. Sørensen

[mtho gling; now Zanda]

First capital city of the kingdom of Guge, situated in the Sutlej Valley to the east of Tsaparang, western Tibet. It was founded c. ad 900. The largest and most important of Tholing’s temples—their original Tibetan names are unknown—is the so-called Red Temple, a typical structure with a two-storey main building and lower side buildings surrounded by high walls, located in the middle of the town. It was in this sanctuary that the Indian master Atisha (982–1054) and the Tibetan monk Rinchen Sangpo (958–1055) lived and did most of their writings and translations. Finely executed wall paintings dating to c. the 15th century, stylistically bearing some resemblance to slightly earlier Nepalese Buddhist paintings, can be found on the walls inside the main chapel. The White Temple, opposite the Red Temple, has been officially closed since 1966, but most of its art is still untouched. Half the wall paintings have been damaged by leaking water, but those left are of superior quality and include images of the goddesses Prajnaparamita and Tara, and of Tsong Khapa (...