Important Cultural PropertyIconographic Drawings of Kannon (Avalokitesvara)

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  • 1 scroll
  • Handscroll; ink on paper
  • H 30.0, W 1064.3
  • Heian period/12th century
  • Nara National Museum
  • 1110(絵209 A)

This is an iconographic scroll containing six types of Kannon figures. The postscript says that this was copied in June 1078 by Joshin, who later became an administrator of Kiyomizu Temple. However, since the endorsement at the end of the scroll has a writing error, which states Oho 2 (1162) instead of Otoku (1085), this scroll might be a re-copy of Joshin's manuscript (transcribed in 1078), which was made at the end of the Heian period. The overall structure of this scroll seems to follow that of the six Kannons as it comprises Sho Kannon, Senju Kannon, Bato Kannon, Fukukenjaku Kannon, Byakue Kannon and Nyoirin Kannon in this order. However, since Joshin's unique explanation is found at the end of Nyoirin Kannon, which says that the six arms of Nyoirin Kannon correspond to Rokudo (the six realms of transmigration) and the six Kannons, his faith in Nyoirin Kannon motivated him to make this copy. This iconographic scroll also contains an iconograph that seems to be a copy of two-armed Nyoirin Kannon, the principal image of Ishiyamadera Temple, which attracted many believers. Since the initial principal image of Ishiyamadera Temple burnt down on New Year's Day in 1078 and Joshin began the creation of this iconographic scroll only six months after the incident, this fire may also have prompted him to create this scroll.