Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. 6-7

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book is the product of many years of research, and the list of people who have helped me along the way is exceedingly long. I can mention only a few of them here. ...

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Conventions

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pp. xi-xii

... While recognized translations of some very common texts, such as the Lotus Sūtra or Tale of Genji, are used throughout, titles of East Asian texts have generally been left in their original language to reduce confusion stemming from the many manuscripts with very similar titles. As with individual ...

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Introduction: The Lay of the Land

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pp. 1-19

When you enter the Picture Hall at the temple of Hōryū-ji, the light is so dim that you cannot see anything. Slowly, your eyes adjust: shadows become shapes, shapes become objects, and objects spread themselves across a space that seems almost too vast to contemplate. In the soft light, you might ...

Part I Faces of Shōtoku

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Chapter 1 Ways to Tell a Sacred Life

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pp. 23-46

Prince Shōtoku was one of the first historical figures in Japanese history to be treated as something more than human, and the many extant hagiographies reveal continual negotiations of his divine status over a period of more than one thousand years. His cult cut through social, sectarian, and geographic ...

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Chapter 2 The Lives of the Prince

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pp. 47-69

When juxtaposed with other hagiographic traditions, one of the most prominent characteristics of Shōtoku’s “life story”—and, at least in theory, Buddhist biography in general—is its open-endedness. While the narrative of a life may seem to be easily bracketed by the ...

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Chapter 3 Japanese Spirit

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pp. 70-103

There is a distinct narrative shape to the legends of Shōtoku. Thus far, he has been discussed as an avatar of Kannon and as a composite of many lives that spanned the history of Buddhism on the Asian continent and in Japan. Yet it is clear that the appearance of the prince in the sixth ...

Part II Mapping Shōtoku’s Tale

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Chapter 4 The Birth of a Legend

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pp. 107-126

The Western Precinct (Sai-in) of Hōryū-ji in present-day Nara Prefecture, with its towering pagoda and elegant Golden Hall, sees waves of visitors stream through it every day. The buildings stand as the oldest examples of continental-style wooden architecture in Japan, and the sculptures in those halls are central ...

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Chapter 5 Siting Shōtoku

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pp. 127-169

Location is paramount in the Picture Hall at Hōryū-ji. The paintings were, from their inception, meant to be displayed as a set arranged in a very specific place. A complete understanding of these pieces must be grounded in their original setting, along with all that it implies about their ...

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Epilogue: Afterlives

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pp. 171-178

“Shōtoku” is an ever-shifting center. The first half of this book showed how the prince, as the focus of a widespread transsectarian cult, integrated into his person diverse times and places, thereby symbolically overcoming a sense of distance from sources of Buddhist authority. The latter half of this study ...

Appendix

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pp. 179-188

Notes

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pp. 189-215

Bibliography

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pp. 217-239

Index

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pp. 241-245

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About the Author

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pp. 261-262

Kevin Carr is an associate professor of art history at the University of Michigan. He focuses on medieval Japanese art history and has published on a variety of issues, including the challenges of writing history through material culture, notions of rationality, and the power of visual arts to inspire ...