Important Cultural PropertyIllustrated Sutra of Cause and Effect (J., E-inga Kyo)

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  • 1 scroll
  • Handscroll; ink and colors on paper
  • H 26.4, L 115.9
  • Nara period/8th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 757(絵151)

Eingakyo is a set of eight painting scrolls created by adding paintings to "Kakogenzai Ingakyo (Ryusho Gunabattara, translated in the mid Genga period (Sung) (fifth century)" consisting of four scrolls. The list known as "Tenmeishouhingonengogatsunanoka ruishushoujoukeinouhitsumokuroku(天平勝寳五年五月七日類収小乗經納櫃目録)" of Shosoin Monjo has an item of "Gaiinkeinibujuurokkan(畫因果經二部十六巻) (two sets of 16 scrolls)" and this is the first appearance in Japanese literature. Another list known as "Heikatuhinhassaisichigatufutsukaruijuu toshoryoukeimokuroku(平勝寳八歳七月二日類従圖書寮經目録)" has an item of "Souingakeihatu Jusankan ichini chitunonakaitchichitsue (繪因果經八(十三)巻 一(二)帙之中一帙繪)." At that time, the creation of pictorial covers of Kyokan became popular at places where Sutras were copied when the relationship between the places and the painters deepened. It is significant that Buddhist paintings were understood in conjunction with the text expressions in "Eingakyo."

Existing "Eingakyo" from the Nara period are those held by Jobon Rendai-ji Temple (the first one of a set of two), Godai-ji Temple (the first one of a set of three), the old Masuda family (the first one of a set of four), Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (the second one of a set of four) and the Idemitsu Museum of Arts (the first one of a set of three).

The painting held at this museum is one of those that used to make up one scroll together with those held in Jobon Rendai-ji Temple and represent the last scene of "Shimon Shutsuyu" following the four scenes ("Kyoshibugei(競試武芸)," "Kanjyo Taishi (灌頂太子)," "Enbujukashiyui(閻浮樹下思惟)" and "Nouki(納妃)"). They represent those including scenes of Prince having a dialogue with Biku (a trainee Buddhist priest) after exiting the north gate and then Biku heading for the sky, of Prince coming back to the castle on a horse, of Udai (one of Shaka's disciples) talking to a king, of Prince meeting Biku, of a dialogue with Biku, of Prince and his wife watching Geiki singing and dancing to music and finally Prince asking King for permission to become a priest.

As each existing "Eingakyo" has unique expressions, it seems unlikely that they were created by the same painter in the same period. However, it seems this can be a valuable clue to looking into the situation of the Gakoshi (an institution to which painters belong) of the time.

This is a rare and extremely valuable work from the Nara period that still exists.