Important Cultural PropertyIconographic Drawings: Emanations of Kannon (Skt. Avalokiteśvara)

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  • 紙本墨画諸観音図像
  • 1 scroll
  • Ink on paper Handscroll
  • 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 (Skt. Avalokiteśvara) figures. This colophon says that this was copied in June, Jōryaku 2 (1078) by Jōshin (dates unknown), who later became an abbot of Kiyomizudera Temple. However, since the endorsement at the end of the scroll has a writing error, which states Ōhō 2 (1162) instead of Ōtoku 2 (1085), this scroll might be a re-copy of Jōshin’s manuscript (transcribed in 1078), which was made at the end of the Heian period (794–1185). The overall structure of this scroll seems to follow that of the Six Kannons as it comprises Shō-Kannon, Senju Kannon (Skt. Sahasrabhuja-avalokiteśvara), Batō Kannon, Fukūkensaku Kannon, White-Robed Kannon and Nyoirin Kannon (Skt. Cintāmaṇicakra) in this order. However, since Jōshin’s unique explanation is found at the end of Nyoirin Kannon, which says that the six arms of Nyoirin Kannon correspond to the sex realms of transmigration and the Six Kannons, his faith in Nyoirin Kannon motivated him to make this copy. These iconographic drawings also contain an iconograph that seems to be a copy of two-armed Nyoirin Kannon, the principal icon of Ishiyamadera Temple, which attracted many believers. Since the initial principal icon of Ishiyamadera Temple burnt down in January in Jōryaku 2 (1078) and Jōshin began the creation of these iconographic drawings only six months after the incident, this fire may also have prompted him to create this scroll.