Legends of the Yuzu Nembutsu Sect

Long painted scroll, green, brown mountains, wooden house, Amida Buddha on cloud
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • Long painted scroll, green, brown mountains, wooden house, Amida Buddha on cloud

Date:

14th century

Artist:

Artist unknown
Japanese, active 14th century

About this artwork

One of the most important and beautiful records of Amidism, a Buddhist salvation theology, is this rare narrative handscroll. It recounts details from the life of Ryōnin (1073–1132), a charismatic Tendai monk who founded the Yuzū sect. The Buddhist concept of yuzū refers to the interrelationship or initial oneness of all things. The dynamically new approach to salvation that Ryoōnin developed from yuzū reasoned that if all things are interrelated, the meritorious action of one individual benefits many. Followers of Amidism registered their names in a tally book, pledging to recite the brief nembutsu prayer, an invocation of the Amida Buddha, at specific times during the day. Contrasted with the dense and elite ritual of Buddhist teachings of the Heian period (794–1185), this simple, more populist approach to Buddhism had enormous appeal. Commissioned and executed in the mid-fourteenth century, during the revival of the Yuzū sect, this lengthy horizontal scroll is unrolled from right to left and intended to be studied in successive sections each approximately the width of the viewer’s shoulders.

Currently Off View

Asian Art

Title

Legends of the Yuzu Nembutsu Sect

Origin

Japan

Date

1301–1400

Medium

Handscroll; ink, colors, and gold on paper

Dimensions

30.5 × 1176.9 cm (12 × 460 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

Reference Number

1956.1256

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share