University of Hawai'i Press

Around the middle of the sixteenth century, Japan's temples and shrines began producing pilgrimage mandalas (sankei mandara), paintings whose primary purpose was to encourage travel and contributions to sacred sites. These are pictorial maps, schematic visual travel guides that depict specific sites and outline the roads, bridges, and landscapes leading to them, as well as each site's origin history (engi), the sacred rituals in that place, and the pleasures to be enjoyed in the surrounding area. However, this article reveals that, rather than being objective guides and road maps, sankei mandara are highly constructed, manipulated images, imbued with both a numinous view of the landscape and partisan views of the represented site. This article discusses how these seemingly incongruent features coexist and intertwine in sankei mandara and by what art and artifice painters have achieved these effects. The author analyzes the multiple layers of sankei mandara and considers how each of the layers works to achieve particular ends, whether to express an aspirational world view, diminish an institutional rival, or bolster the position of the commissioning patron. Reading sankei mandara in this way enriches our understanding of the nature of maps in general, while also allowing access to a particular moment in Japan's social, religious, and institutional history, providing insight into a range of historical issues left murky when examined using textual analysis alone.


sankei mandara, Japan, pilgrimage, mandalas, Fuji sankei mandara

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Maps encode the attitudes of the mapmakers toward the area they are mapping and the world views of the societies in which they live. In the words of classicist Christian Jacob, "Maps construct their own worlds through the filtering, translation, and hierarchical and taxonomical organizations of data" (Jacob 1996, 192). The maps of a water agency would thus include the area's rivers, streams, ponds, and springs, whereas a military map would underline fortifications, airfields, arms depots, passes, and the like. In a political map, borders might be redrawn with contentious areas included and names of towns changed according to a larger geopolitical discourse. A map made by monastics might give expression to the holiness of a land and be imbued with overtones of a sacred cosmology. I will argue that this is the case for sankei mandara 参詣曼荼羅 (pilgrimage mandalas), the genre of medieval Japanese painting that is the subject of this article (figures 1 and 2).1

Sankei mandara are described by scholars as annaizu 案内図 (guide maps) to sacred grounds and their environs.2 The term annaizu implies a certain degree of accuracy and objectivity when presenting the landscape—the viewer expects to be able to use the image as a map to navigate through the illustrated area. I will argue that while each sankei mandara do provide fairly detailed and usable descriptions of the layout of the shrine-temple complex and the roads leading to it, they are also calibrated, selective, and subjective accounts of the represented site. I will show that sankei mandara contain multiple layers and serve a range of purposes: they are didactic, devotional, and ideological; they are guide maps to sacred sites, and they are also cosmological maps that chart religious doctrines.

Moreover, close comparative analysis of multiple sankei mandara devoted to illustrating the same sacred site reveals small differences in detail and emphasis. These differences, I argue, are not related to the mandara's function as a pilgrim's guide to the actual site or its cosmological correspondent. Instead, the differences provide clues to more human concerns such as internal politics and institutional struggles for power and authority at the represented site at the time the mandara was painted. In this sense, social historian Laura Nenzi's observation of mapmaking under the Tokugawa government is applicable to reading sankei mandara. She writes, "The mapping of space is an endeavor undertaken by and processed through different [End Page 366]

Figure 1. Nariaji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, late Muromachi-Momoyama period. Ink and colors on paper, 150.3 x 126.8 cm. Nariaiji, Kyoto. Source: .
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Figure 1.

Nariaji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, late Muromachi-Momoyama period. Ink and colors on paper, 150.3 x 126.8 cm. Nariaiji, Kyoto. Source: Wakayama City Museum (2002, 38).

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Figure 2. Nachi sankei mandara, hanging scroll, sixteenth to seventeenth century. Ink and colors on paper, 259 x 165 cm. Source: Gitter-Yelen Collection, New Orleans.
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Figure 2.

Nachi sankei mandara, hanging scroll, sixteenth to seventeenth century. Ink and colors on paper, 259 x 165 cm. Source: Gitter-Yelen Collection, New Orleans.

frames of interpretation, visible through the prioritization of particular spaces, which reflect particular interests and agendas" (Nenzi 2008, 14). Cartographer J. B. Harley's observation that maps are inevitably partisan objects is also useful in analyzing this layer of sankei mandara expression. He writes that "maps are never value-free images. . . . Both in the selectivity of their content and in their signs and styles of representation, maps are a way of conceiving, articulating and structuring the human world which is biased towards, promoted by, and exerts influence upon particular sets of social relations" (Harley 2002, 53).

Like maps, sankei mandara express a world view—and often wishful thinking—on the part of the commissioning agent, and through the relative [End Page 368] emphasis on or omission of particular halls, temples, or figures, we may identify that particular world view and, by extension, the patron temple for individual sankei mandara. I examine this layer of sankei mandara by comparing two versions of the Fuji sankei mandara and find that the paintings visually encode the interests and positions of rival religious institutions located at the southern base of Mount Fuji. This comparative approach reveals how different institutions map out the same space differently in order to make visual arguments for presence and priority.

I begin with the historical context surrounding the appearance of sankei mandara followed by an introduction to the genre. I then move to a discussion of sankei mandara's layered structure and show that while the paintings provide a workable guide to the shrine-temple complex, they are also endowed with cosmographic qualities, creating another level to guide the viewer through higher strata of the faith practiced at the represented site (typically a combination of Buddhism and native kami worship). The final section examines some of the ways sankei mandara were manipulated to reflect institutional interests.

defining mandara

Before I begin my analysis of the sankei mandara genre, it is necessary to establish an understanding of the term mandara and its historical context. Mandara is the Sanskrit mandala as pronounced in Japanese, a word with a meaning suggestive of "circle" (Buswell and Lopez 2014, 523). The origin of the word mandala is not well understood, but it is believed to have derived from the tantric ritual context and to connote the circular bounded area within which rites of consecration, initiation, or protection were performed (Buswell and Lopez 2014, 523–524).

In the Buddhist context, a mandala typically refers to a representation of an enlightened being. However, unlike an image that represents a single deity and attendants, a mandala represents the deity in its complete aspect. In Buddhism, all phenomena are understood to be dependently arisen, meaning they are inextricably interconnected with the entire cosmos. In order to present a complete picture of any particular phenomenon, the entire cosmos must be invoked and arranged as it relates to that phenomenon. Mandalas [End Page 369] portray this complete picture. Consequently, in representing a particular deity, a mandala in effect presents a "map of the cosmos" as it pertains to that deity. Max Moerman, a historian of Japanese religions, writes:

And like the map, the mandala has both expressive and instrumental functions: it marks a field of action, charts passage, guides progress, and documents property. . . . It was used to consecrate and circumscribe the ritual space of altars, initiation platforms, temples, palaces, and kingdoms. Like a religious map or ground plan, the two-dimensional mandala, painted on cloth or paper and hung on temple walls, always refers to the third dimension—a topographic, architectural, or ritual space—beyond the painted plan. The mandala spatializes Buddhist thought. It provides the tools for drawing the cosmos into the ceremonial act and for establishing correspondences between the deity and the practitioner, between the macrocosm and the microcosm. Through rites of consecration, visualization, and veneration, the mandala advances a totalizing vision of the religious environment and provides a universalizing map for a particular religious landscape.

(2005, 76–77)

The three-dimensional nature of a mandala is vividly illustrated by the example of Borobudur in Java, Indonesia, a massive Buddhist monument designed as a mandala. Geographic locations identified as mandalas, such as Wutaishan in China and Mount Kailash in Tibet, further strengthen the sense that mandalas, far from being mere conceptual spaces, are understood to relate to actual places.

In Japan, the most widely known mandala is the Mandala of the Two Worlds (Ryōkai mandara), which consists of the Diamond World (Kongōkai) and Womb World (Taizōkai) mandalas. These were brought to Japan from China by the monk Kūkai (774–835) in 805 (figure 3). Representing the Buddha Dainichi in his absolute and conditioned aspects, the mandalas were used both in temple rituals and to consecrate the religious landscapes of monastic compounds (Moerman 2005, 77). Kūkai, for example, envisioned Mount Kōya, the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism, as the Mandala of the Two Worlds, associating specific areas and monuments with aspects of the two mandalas. Similar associations were made with other Japanese sacred sites, such as the pilgrimage route from Yoshino to Kumano.3 [End Page 370]

Figure 3. Mandala of the Two Worlds (Ryōkai mandara), pair of hanging scrolls, Edo period (1693). Ink and colors on silk, 410.9 x 378.4 cm (each). Tōji Temple, Kyoto. Source: .
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Figure 3.

Mandala of the Two Worlds (Ryōkai mandara), pair of hanging scrolls, Edo period (1693). Ink and colors on silk, 410.9 x 378.4 cm (each). Tōji Temple, Kyoto. Source: Sawa and Hamada (1983–1984, 24, 29).

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In Japan, starting in the eleventh century, the term mandara was expanded to include not only schematic esoteric mandalas but other kinds of religious painting as well. Representations of the Pure Land paradises of Buddhist deities based on esoteric visualization texts, for example, were also referred to as mandara. According to historian of Japanese art Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis, these paintings were "visual transformations of doctrinal themes or legends, interpretations of literary themes in pictorial terms" (1999, 3). They depicted the pure lands of Buddhas and bodhisattvas where the faithful might gain rebirth, as described in sutras such as the Amitāyurdhyāna Sutra (Visualization sutra). In the Taima Mandara, for example, Amida Buddha is portrayed in Sukhāvatī, his Pure Land located to the west of our world. Amida typically appears in the center of the composition surrounded by bodhisattvas and heavenly attendants, musicians, and dancers, who welcome the newly deceased as they are reborn on lotus seed pods in the foreground (figure 4). A Tang-dynasty palace serves as a backdrop to this otherworldly scene, visually linking the royal house with the heavenly realm. The viewer looks down onto the scene from an elevated vantage point.

The term mandara was then further expanded to include representations of sacred sites throughout Japan. These site-specific paintings, referred to as miya mandara (shrine mandalas), depicted shrine-temple complexes within a natural setting viewed from a bird's-eye perspective (figure 5). They often represented the resident deities of the site with a sacred mountain crowning the composition. As Moerman has observed, "While traditional tantric and Pure Land mandara adhere to the scriptural cosmologies of the sutras and represent utopian realms independent of any particular earthly place, miya mandara represent a topography far less abstract, the Buddhist cosmology brought back down to earth and reflecting local priorities" (2005, 91). Initially, miya mandara were used for worship, used and viewed only by those involved in shrine ceremonies. Later, with the formation of various 講 (associations of faithful practitioners), such as the Hachiman and the Sannō , the miya mandara format was popularized and spread, employed in rituals and believed to serve a protective function.4 In fact, according to an entry from Emperor Hanazono's (1297–1348) diary, paintings of Kasuga Shrine were used as a substitute for attending rituals at the shrine (the emperor's circle of acquaintance was presumably limited to the nobility). In the same entry, the emperor remarks on the popularity of [End Page 372]

Figure 4. Taima mandara, hanging scroll, Nanbokuchō period (late fourteenth century). Colors and gold on silk, 133.4 x 121.9 cm. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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Figure 4.

Taima mandara, hanging scroll, Nanbokuchō period (late fourteenth century). Colors and gold on silk, 133.4 x 121.9 cm. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Kasuga mandara: "These days everyone seems to have one."5 Miya mandara were also used for virtual pilgrimage. In his diary, Gyokuyō, the courtier and regent Fujiwara (Kujō) Kanezane, describes such a virtual pilgrimage to Kasuga Shrine taken through a Kasuga mandara from his home in the capital in Juei 3 (1184). Or rather, in Kanezane's case, the shrine traveled to him. After a series of elaborate rituals and offerings before the painting, Kanezane declares in his diary: "I and others confirmed in our dreams that [End Page 373]

Figure 5. Mandala of Kasuga Shrine, hanging scroll, Kamakura period (early fourteenth century). Ink, colors, and gold on silk, 99 x 40 cm. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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Figure 5.

Mandala of Kasuga Shrine, hanging scroll, Kamakura period (early fourteenth century). Ink, colors, and gold on silk, 99 x 40 cm. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

[End Page 374] the shrine had come here. It is truly worthy of belief."6 Whether it is the viewer or the site that spiritually travels, the painting serves as a medium or point of access to the sacred place.

Sankei mandara may be regarded as a natural extension of the expanded notion of mandala in Japan. The organization of sankei mandara follows the compositional principles of miya mandara: a sacred site is viewed from an elevated perspective, with a route leading the viewer up into the painted space with a canopy of mountains in the background. Moreover, like miya mandara, sankei mandara are believed to have been used as a vehicle for virtually visiting the represented site. What most distinguishes sankei mandara from earlier representations of sacred sites is the inclusion of pilgrims exploring the grounds, as well as the depiction of local shops, specialties, and entertainments available in the town outside the sacred gate. So, even though the term sankei mandara is a twentieth-century designation—contemporary accounts refer to sankei mandara as "picture-charts/diagrams" (ezu) or "old charts/diagrams" (kozu)—these paintings were likely conceived within the broader concept of mandara.

historical context

The earliest extant sankei mandara date to the middle of the sixteenth century, when Japan was just beginning to emerge from a period of extended and chaotic warfare. With the final collapse of the military government of Ashikaga shoguns and the widespread deterioration of the aristocratic estate (shōen) system, both of which had provided for the maintenance and rebuilding needs of Japan's temples and shrines, religious institutions were forced to seek new avenues of support among the newly risen class of wealthy urban commoners.7 Temples and shrines opened their doors to commoners and actively solicited their economic support, spurring a surge in pilgrimage.8 Sacred spaces that had been accessible only to the aristocracy and to prestigious religious practitioners were now visited in large numbers by groups of wealthy commoners.

Sankei mandara were produced as part of the expanded fundraising campaigns by temples and shrines. The paintings visually reflected the socioeconomic changes of the period by depicting commoners in the roles of pilgrims and patrons alongside the nobility and military aristocracy in and around shrine-temple grounds. Though their primary purpose was, [End Page 375] ostensibly, to promote pilgrimage to the represented site and inspire donations for its upkeep, sankei mandara also had the effect of visually documenting their new patrons' rising social status. Sankei mandara thus provide a window into late-medieval Japan, giving visual expression to the social, political, and economic changes that accompanied the empowerment of the commoner classes in the sixteenth century.

Sankei mandara are believed to have been commissioned by itinerant, low-ranking monks and nuns (kanjin hijiri 勧進聖, or "fundraising saints") in the service of the temples and shrines, who used them as visual accompaniments to narrative recitation performances (etoki 絵解) as they traveled across the country extolling the myriad benefits of donating and traveling to the sacred site illustrated in the painting.9 Though we have no written record that describes sankei mandara having been used in etoki, evidence does point in this direction. Creases in the paper of many extant sankei mandara indicate the paintings were folded, a material trace typically found on paintings used for etoki. The way Fudaraku Temple's Nachi sankei mandara is mounted, with loops along the top edge, suggests that the image traveled and was hung using a wooden rod (see figure 2). In addition, the Kimiidera sankei mandara, discovered in the fundraising hall (kokuya) of Kiimidera Temple together with a Kanshin jikkai mandara—a painting we know for certain was used in etoki from both visual and textual sources—was found with records of fundraising by Kimiidera's monks (figure 6 is a seventeenth-century painting that includes a depiction of an etoki of a Kanshin jikkai mandara).10 Moreover, according to an inscription on the back of the Hōonji sankei mandara, the work was painted (or commissioned) in 1568 by the fundraising monk Dōei.11 Though we do not know with certainty how Dōei used the mandara, he most likely used it in his fundraising endeavors.

The decline of sankei mandara coincides with the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate and the system it introduced, in which all large religious institutions were both directly controlled by the military government and assured their support. Buddhist temples in particular were given a newly regularized monopoly on temple registration and death memorials.12 In these stable economic circumstances, kanjin activity became less urgent and the sankei mandara genre that provided one of its key tools was no longer of use. Sankei mandara production faded out gradually during the Kanbun, Enpō, and Genroku periods (1661–1704) (Nishiyama 1986, 45; Ōtaka 2012, 12). [End Page 376]

Figure 6. A Festival at Sumiyoshi Shrine, pair of two-panel screens (left screen), Edo period (early seventeenth century). Color and gold on paper, 95 x 171 cm. Source: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1900.25.
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Figure 6.

A Festival at Sumiyoshi Shrine, pair of two-panel screens (left screen), Edo period (early seventeenth century). Color and gold on paper, 95 x 171 cm. Source: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1900.25.

sankei mandara: describing the genre

Sankei mandara are schematic visual guides to sacred sites and their environs. They describe the gates and buildings that demarcate sacred and secular spaces, and they illustrate the spiritual benefits of visiting the represented site and the assortment of worldly pleasures to be experienced in the surrounding area. The paintings often include scenes from the site's sacred origins (engi 縁起) or local folklore (setsuwa 説話), native deities (kami 神), as well as merrymakers enjoying the beautiful scenery and local specialties of the area. These paintings are a tour de force of visual information, a catalog of material and visual culture produced at a time of expanding commoner consumption of religious practice.

The detailed and exhaustive illustration of such a small area leaves the impression that the temples were determined to tempt every kind of visitor. There is something for everyone in these pictures. While the origin history served a legitimizing function, providing the temple with a long and distinguished religious history, the contemporary rituals advertised the spiritual rewards waiting to be attained at that site, and the earthly pleasures appealed directly to the senses. [End Page 377]

Sankei mandara share many common features: (1) they are large-scale paintings (typically measuring about 1.5 square meters), usually executed on mulberry paper using low-quality mineral pigments; (2) the background is often painted with a deep ochre color;13 (3) they include a variety of seasonal blossoms; (4) the sun and moon typically appear in the top left and right corners;14 and (5) similar figural and architectural features are found in the majority of examples. Figures one can expect to encounter ambling along the pilgrimage path include biwa hōshi (blind lute-playing priests), Kōya hijiri (itinerant monks from Mount Kōya), saru mawashi (monkey trainers), monks and attendants, pairs of female pilgrims, and low-ranking samurai, among others. A kanjin monk or nun seated in a kokuya with donation ladle extended is another common inclusion. As mentioned, episodes from the temple's engi or local folklore are often folded into the lively activities, mixing past and present, religious and imaginary in a single image.

Sankei mandara were employed by itinerant monks and nuns in their effort to entice new visitors and contributions to their temples and shrines. The mandara are thought to have been carried in zushi 厨子 (miniature shrines) or oi 笈 (wooden backpacks) to towns and festivals and used in recitation performances in which the worldly and soteriological benefits of donating and traveling to the site were vividly described.15 Unlike traditional narrative painting on hand scrolls—where a story unfolds chronologically in a linear direction, often with accompanying text, such as the Genji monogatari emaki or the Kiyomizudera engi-esankei mandara have no singular narrative. Instead, they have multiple narratives and temporal layers that the narrator may pick up and tailor to the audience, making the individual listener a potential hero of his or her own pilgrimage story. Fusing together image and narrative, the performer would stand before an audience and point out the wonders to be experienced along the pilgrimage road and on the site's sacred grounds. Numerous strands might be woven into the narrative performance: the origin history of the site, the rituals performed there, the area's folklore, the beautiful sites and scenery to be enjoyed throughout the year, and the local specialties and earthly pleasures awaiting in the towns outside the gates.

A scene from the Sumiyoshi Festival screen, a contemporaneous painting of daily life, gives a sense of what the interaction between performer, painting, and viewer might have looked like (see figure 6). In the lower right [End Page 378] corner of the screen, a nun stationed at the foot of a bridge explains the meaning of the Kanshin jikkai mandara to a group of women and children who have gathered around her. Sankei mandara were similarly employed in informal, impromptu gatherings, and were meant to be engaged and performed in this way. They were not hung in temples or kept hidden from view; they were displayed on the street. For this reason, we may presume that the number of mandalas that survive today is only a fraction of the number produced. At present, there are 106 extant examples.16

sankei mandara as maps to the sacred

Sankei mandara are typically foregrounded by a body of water and crowned by distant mountains; the sun and moon float on clouds in the upper corners of the paintings. Nestled between mountain and sea are the temple or shrine complex, the pilgrimage road leading to it, and the town outside the sacred gate. Historian of medieval Japan Nishiyama Masaru refers to this compositional structure as the "mountain-sacred place-sea" spatial axis model (1998, 60), and Abe Yasurō, a historian of Japanese religions and folklore, describes it as a complete universe (1987, 144). This spatial configuration typically does not reflect the actual topographical disposition of the area (though the natural elements are usually identifiable), but it creates an overall impression of sanctity and of a numinous cosmology beyond the realm of the viewer. It also largely follows the compositional organization of miya mandara, the genre of painting discussed above (see figure 5).

Depicting a body of water in the foreground creates a barrier that must be crossed. The water symbolizes a demarcation between the sacred site and the secular world from which the viewer-pilgrim has come. Crossing the water via bridge or boat signifies a passage, and a cleansing and renewal. One leaves behind the present world and worries, much as one would on an actual pilgrimage journey, and enters into another realm—both the realm of the painting and the realm of the spiritual. This way of framing sankei mandara was a compositional choice that compounded the symbolic meaning and transformative effect accompanying the act of crossing over a body of water at the start of one's pilgrimage journey.

The canopy of mountains in the background further heightens the sacred impression of the landscape. The mountains in sankei mandara are [End Page 379]

Figure 7. Kiyomizudera sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (late sixteenth century). Ink and colors on paper, 168.5 x 176.8 cm. Source: Nakajima Family Collection, Shiga Prefecture, Japan ().
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Figure 7.

Kiyomizudera sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (late sixteenth century). Ink and colors on paper, 168.5 x 176.8 cm. Source: Nakajima Family Collection, Shiga Prefecture, Japan (Wakayama City Museum 2002, 33).

usually identifiable, but their topographic disposition (and/or geographical relationship, since the mountains are also depicted next to each other) has been misrepresented to conform to artistic convention. The three mountains illustrated at the top of the Kiyomizudera sankei mandara, for example, are identified by Nishiyama as Ryōsen, Kiyomizu yama, and Amida yama (from left to right) (figure 7). Nishiyama points out that from the perspective given in the painting (looking down from south to north), the three mountains should be lined up vertically, not horizontally (the view of the mountains is from west to east) (Nishiyama 1988, 10). Positioning the mountains in this way, he argues, suggests a Buddhist triad, endowing the painting with shōgon [End Page 380]

Figure 8. Ise sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (late sixteenth century). Ink and colors on paper, 171.4 x 186 cm. Jingū Chōkokan, Mie Prefecture. Source: .
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Figure 8.

Ise sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (late sixteenth century). Ink and colors on paper, 171.4 x 186 cm. Jingū Chōkokan, Mie Prefecture. Source: Tokyo National Museum (2009, 38).

荘厳 (devotional ornamentation). He believes the artist deliberately changed the direction of the mountains in order to enhance the sacred appearance of the mandara. A similar reconfiguration of the topographical landscape is found in the Jingū Chōkōkan Ise sankei mandara, where Asama Mountain appears in the upper left corner of the painting, above the Naikū (Ise's Inner Shrine), when it should appear to its left, in the east—the landscape is oriented from south to north (figure 8). Moving Asama Mountain to the south of the Naikū, however, creates the desired visual effect of three crowning mountains; the other two are Mount Takakura, situated to the south of the Gekū (Ise's Outer Shrine), and a central mountain as yet unidentified. By [End Page 381] reconfiguring the topographical landscape in sankei mandara, the patron institutions transformed the area into a sacred universe, giving visual expression to their larger theological goals.17

sankei mandara as guide maps to sacred sites

The primary purpose of sankei mandara was, presumably, to promote temples and shrines and to attract pilgrims and donations. As such, the paintings had to present the viewer with a relatively clear impression of the landscape, in case he or she was inspired to visit the site. A number of scholars have observed that the layout of the sacred grounds in sankei mandara are portrayed in great detail, to ensure the image could effectively function as a guide map.18 The paintings are also instructive: the viewers follow the pilgrims through the mandara as they pray before different halls, learning from them the appropriate etiquette for visiting each site. Sankei mandara are believed to have also provided a conduit for a virtual trip for those who wished to accrue the karmic benefits of pilgrimage but were unable to travel. The pilgrims in the painting could therefore also serve as a visual proxy for the viewer on his or her virtual tour through the mandara.19

While the sacred grounds are given a great amount of space and detail, the pilgrimage road leading to the site is usually compressed and distorted, its shape altered to fit the confined space of the painting (see the Kiyomizudera sankei mandara in figure 7 for an example). Nishiyama points out that the road in sankei mandara is often portrayed as winding, which he believes was a pictorial device intended to elongate the visual experience of traveling to the sacred site (Nishiyama 1988, 12). This would have allowed the viewer to shed the impurities of the secular world before entering into the sacred. Shifting one's consciousness through the process of walking was an essential aspect of medieval Japanese pilgrimage; viewer-pilgrims would have been familiar with this part of the pilgrimage experience.

Elongating the road also gives the artist more space to paint local sites, scenery, and commercial activity. Illustrated along the pilgrimage road and in the town outside the sacred gate are the local shops selling delicacies and specialties of the area, which could be enjoyed only in that particular locale (for example, the tea made from the healing water of Kiyomizudera's Otowa Falls, or the combs made in the town of Okamoto near the Ise Shrines). Each [End Page 382] sankei mandara is thus infused with a local flavor and energy that captures the life of the area, enticing the viewer to undertake an actual trip to the site and enjoy its unique delights.

We find then that sankei mandara were both cosmological maps and guide maps to sacred sites, depicting much of what would be encountered on a visit to the illustrated site while also wrapping the landscape with cosmological overtones. The paintings thus functioned on two tracks: manipulating topography and the roads leading to the site while depicting with great detail the shrine-temple's grounds and halls. One must keep in mind that sankei mandara were not actually used by individual travelers as portable maps to the represented site; their size alone would make this impossible. Rather, as a prop in etoki performances, the mandara needed only to transmit a sense of the landscape and the layout of the shrine-temple complex, one that captured the site faithfully enough that it would appear familiar to the viewer if he or she were inspired to visit the site.

institutional affiliations and patronage in sankei mandara

In addition to being cosmological maps and guide maps to religious sites, sankei mandara also contain a layer of manipulations concerned with more earthly matters, discernible when comparing the mandara devoted to illustrating the same sacred site. The small differences between the compositions of the different mandara and their representation of architectural and figural details encode such historical conditions as local conflicts among religious sects and within the religious hierarchy; deciphering these subtleties requires close inspection of the paintings' details together with a knowledge of the site's institutional and economic histories.

The two Fuji sankei mandara now housed in Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine illustrate this point (I will refer to the paintings as Hongū A [figure 9] and Hongū B [figure 10]). The paintings depict Fuji's iconic form towering over the landscape, viewed from the southern base of the mountain in Suruga Province. Both are essentially mountainscapes, defined by the image of a mountain, and both differ from the more standard sankei mandara that are defined by a shrine or temple complex. Both paintings also employ a [End Page 383]

Figure 9. Fuji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (sixteenth century). Ink and colors on silk, 186.6 x 118.2 cm. Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine, Shizuoka. Source: Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine.
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Figure 9.

Fuji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (sixteenth century). Ink and colors on silk, 186.6 x 118.2 cm. Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine, Shizuoka. Source: Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine.

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Figure 10. Fuji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (sixteenth century). Ink and colors on silk, 91.5 x 67.3 cm. Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine, Shizuoka. Source: Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine.
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Figure 10.

Fuji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Muromachi period (sixteenth century). Ink and colors on silk, 91.5 x 67.3 cm. Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine, Shizuoka. Source: Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine.

[End Page 385] similar compositional device in which the pilgrim-viewers begin their journey from the bottom of the painting and climb vertically up to Fuji's peak. The foreground describes the outer secular realm; the middle ground illustrates Asama Shrine and Murayama Temple; and the upper area in the background captures the numinous space of Mount Fuji. Although both versions illustrate Murayama Temple and Asama Shrine, the relative priorities and emphases of each painting betray specific points of view and particular institutional interests. Before beginning a close analysis of the paintings, I will briefly outline the history of Murayama Temple and Asama Shrine, the rival institutions that feature prominently in the story of the Fuji sankei mandara.

Murayama Temple was a Buddhist institution established in the fourteenth century.20 It was dedicated to a form of mountain worship that involved secluding oneself in the mountains to undergo numerous physical trials in order to acquire spiritual powers (Shugendō 修験道).21 The Murayama monks identified Fuji's peak as the location of both Dainichi's paradise and Amida's paradise, and they made a business of climbing Fuji to access these paradises, leading expeditions of male pilgrims to the summit to perform rituals and austerities. Until the early seventeenth century, Murayama controlled the area from Fuji's eighth station to its peak and almost all climbing-related activities and profits (Endō 1978, 40). Along this route to Fuji's peak, the Murayama monks established a number of halls and rest stops for pilgrims to use—for a fee. The temple also provided lodging for pilgrims on its grounds and around the base of the mountain, in inns called dōshabō—also for a fee.22 Though there were five entrances to climb Fuji (from Suruga: Murayama/Ōmiya, Subashiri, and Suyama; from Kai: Kawaguchi and Yoshida, open from at least the Nanbokuchō period [Endō 1978, 40]), in the mid-sixteenth century the daimyō (local feudal lord) of Suruga Province, Imagawa Yoshimoto (1519–1560), a strong supporter of Murayama Temple, instituted a policy in which those traveling from western Japan were permitted to use only the Murayama entrance (Horiuchi 1994–1995, 139–140). In 1557, Imagawa also issued an official statement declaring himself the protector of Murayama and its pilgrims (Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 1:557–558).23 Murayama's monastic community skillfully combined religious tenets with political savvy and an entrepreneurial spirit, and the temple flourished, thanks in large part to Yoshimoto's support. [End Page 386]

Asama Shrine was located just south of Murayama Temple in the town of Ōmiya (present-day Fuji no Miya). The shrine was established in the ninth century and was dedicated to pacifying Fuji's temperamental deity, Asama Ōkami, after a series of violent and destructive volcanic eruptions occurred in quick succession.24 The shrine was built around a spring called the Wakutama Ike, whose waters were said to derive from the melted snow from Fuji's peak; this was also the place where the volcano's lava had stopped flowing after one of the most devastating eruptions in the year 800 (Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 280; Naruse 2005, 39; Endō 1987, 10). The faith practiced at Asama Shrine was devoted exclusively to mollifying the violent manifestation of Fuji's deity in order to avoid another calamitous eruption (Fujinomiya Shishi 1986).25 Fuji was the object of worship and was not climbed by Asama's priests. In the early sixteenth century, Asama's priests established their own inns (in their own homes) in the town of Ōmiya for visiting pilgrims. According to the late Muromachi-period Ōmiya dōshabō kibun [Annals of the Ōmiya dōshabō], in the sixteenth century (Kyōroku-Tenbun periods, 1528–1555) there were about thirty Ōmiya inns () in operation.26 These were called the Ōmiya dōshabō. The Kibun records that in the middle of the sixteenth century (starting in the Kōji-Eiroku periods, 1555–1570), there were seven , called the Otakibō, and another twelve or thirteen made up the Shunchōbō.27 We are able to follow the spread of Fuji faith over time and throughout the country from the Otakibō's ledgers (dōsha chō), which list the hometowns and financial contributions of the pilgrims who stayed at their inns (each of the Ōmiya dōshabō had to contribute a portion of their earnings to Asama Shrine) (Horiuchi 1994–1995, 132–136).28 Asama's doshabō were in direct competition with the doshabō run by Murayama's affiliates. Over the course of the sixteenth century, Asama's doshabō grew larger and stronger, expanding to neighboring provinces.29 The spread of Asama's doshabō was the result of larger social and economic changes that occurred in the medieval period, which included the development of transportation, the circulation of money, an increase in high-quality pilgrims' lodges, and the growth of towns around religious sites (Kondō 1972, 105). The town of Ōmiya and Asama Shrine profited from the rise in pilgrimage traffic, as did all of Suruga Province. The only exception was Murayama Temple, whose doshabō suffered as a consequence of the success of Asama's doshabō: Murayama now had to share pilgrims, and profits, with Asama Shrine (Horiuchi 1994–1995, 141).30 Moreover, the [End Page 387] pilgrims who stayed in Ōmiya's dōshabō used the Murayama entrance, and all of the halls and rest stops the Murayama yamabushi had established along the route, to climb Fuji. To compound the issue, a roadside prohibition board issued in the Tenshō period (1573–1592) by Ide Shima no Kami Masakatsu, the local governor appointed by Tokugawa Ieyasu,31 declared that pilgrims traveling from western Japan must pass through Ōmiya in order to climb Fuji (Horiuchi 1994–1995, 138–139).32 Even though there was a route directly to Murayama, pilgrims were required to take this detour through Asama Shrine (Horiuchi 1994–1995, 139; Kondō 1985, 74).

By the time the prohibition board was issued, however, Murayama's decline had already begun. First there was Imagawa Yoshimoto's defeat by Oda Nobunaga in the 1560 Battle of Okehazama.33 Then, in 1569, the warlord Takeda Shingen (1521–1573) seized control of Ōmiya Castle and the surrounding area, precipitating Murayama's decline by favoring Asama Shrine (Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 1:556).34 In 1604, Tokugawa Ieyasu also chose to support Asama Shrine, rebuilding the grounds on a grand scale and adding a second story to what had been a one-story main hall (Watanabe 2004, 28).35 Control of the area from Fuji's eighth station to its peak was transferred from Murayama Temple to Asama Shrine (Endō 1978, 40–41). The golden age of Murayama thus came to an end; by the late seventeenth century the sect had effectively died out.

In the Hongū A Fuji sankei mandara, Asama Shine appears in the lower middle ground, its main hall situated to the left, near the edge of the painting (figure 9). Just above, in the center of the middle ground, is Murayama Temple. Murayama's halls continue up in a vertical line along the central axis of the painting to the base of Mount Fuji, and its pilgrims climb to Fuji's peak led by Murayama's monks. In reality, the route to Fuji's base via Murayama's halls was not so straight and direct, nor was the distance between its halls so great. This compositional strategy, however, conveys the power of the Murayama institution and its privileged access to the mountain. Elongating the distance between its halls emphasizes Murayama's role in keeping travelers safe and comfortable on their journey to Fuji's peak. Asama Shrine is given comparatively little space in the painting. Based on these observations alone, we may conclude that affiliates of Murayama commissioned this mandara, illustrating a landscape in which their temple is dominant, while their institutional rival, Asama Shrine, is given a minor supporting role. The [End Page 388] reason Ōmiya Shrine still appears in a relatively prominent position in the mandara may be because pilgrims were required to purify at both Ōmiya Shrine and Murayama Temple before climbing Fuji.36 This might account for the placement of Ōmiya's Wakutama Ike on the mandara's central axis together with Murayama's halls.

We find a very different institutional landscape represented in the Hongū B Fuji sankei mandara (figure 10). Here, Asama Shrine appears as the more powerful institution, its sprawling complex illustrated in the middle ground, while Murayama Temple is pushed up and out of sight, represented only by the roofs of its halls. Judging from the enlarged depiction of Asama Shrine, and the cursory representation of Murayama Temple, patronage for the Hongū B mandara almost certainly came from Asama Shrine. This theory is strengthened by the mandara's representation of Fuji. Unlike in the Hongū A mandara, there are no pilgrims climbing Fuji, no Buddhas enshrined in its peaks, no sun or moon represented in the surrounding sky. Instead, Fuji itself is presented as a deity, ruling majestically over the landscape, its abstract gold form pristine and magnificent. As we know, this vision of Fuji corresponds with the form of faith practiced at Asama Shrine, where the mountain was believed to embody Asama's enshrined deity, Asama Ōkami. Murayama practitioners, by contrast, believed Fuji's peak was the location of Buddhist paradises, and pilgrims were encouraged to climb to Fuji's peak and perform austerities there. The Hongū A Fuji sankei mandara reflects this view of the mountain in the representation of a Buddha in each of Fuji's three peaks and in the trail of pilgrims climbing toward them. We may therefore conclude that the Hongū A mandara was commissioned by affiliates of Murayama Temple, while the Hongū B mandara was commissioned by affiliates of Asama Shrine.

Further examination of the details allows us to narrow down a date of production for the paintings. Impressed in the bottom right corner of the Hongū A mandara is the seal of Kano Motonobu (1476–1559), one of the leading artists of the sixteenth century. Much has been written about whether or not this is by Motonobu, his studio, or a later painter, with no final consensus.37 Judging from the exceptionally high quality of the painting, the materials used (which include sixteenth-century silk and natural mineral pigments, iwae no gu, unlike typical sankei mandara, which are painted on paper with doroe no gu—color wash, distemper, powdered paints, [End Page 389] or pigments), and the overall style of the painting, the Hongū A mandara was likely produced in the Kano painting studio in the sixteenth century, when Motonobu was active, and may therefore be attributed to Motonobu. Motonobu died in 1559, a year before the death of Imagawa Yoshimoto, so we may further conclude that the Hongū A mandara was painted while Murayama was still ascendant in the mid-sixteenth century. In the Hongū B mandara, Asama's main hall is represented as a one-story structure, an indication that it was probably painted before Tokugawa Ieyasu's 1604 reconstruction, when the hall was rebuilt with two stories, as we see it represented in later mandalas (figure 11). It is of course possible that the painter referred to an earlier representation of the main hall, but the style of painting and the type of silk used indicate that it is a sixteenth-century work. Moreover, if the grounds had been rebuilt at the time the Hongū B mandara was painted, why would the Asama patrons who commissioned it to promote their shrine have chosen to illustrate the hall in its less illustrious form? We may therefore conclude that both paintings date to the second half of the sixteenth century.

A number of Asama's halls were destroyed after a series of invasions and upheavals in Suruga Province in the mid-sixteenth century. A document from 1576 with the seal of the daimyō Takeda Shingen orders five of Ōmiya's dōshabō to spearhead the rebuilding of Asama's grounds (Takeda had already defeated the Imagawa forces and seized Ōmiya castle) (Ōtaka 2004a, 15; Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 1:635–637. Though Takeda's letter does not specify how the dōshabō should carry out his order, contemporary documents indicate that the dōshabō raised money through kanjin collected from pilgrims to build or rebuild structures around the shrine and to pay for ritual services and annual ceremonies, and that they were given permission to do this by Imagawa Yoshimoto (in 1560, to rebuild the Gomadō) and Takeda Shingen (in 1579, to build a stupa). The dōshabō also kept records of the kanjin they received from pilgrims.38 It is therefore likely that collecting kanjin from pilgrims for the rebuilding is implicit in Takeda's order. Asama's dōshabō were successful and speedy in their endeavor, and Asama Shrine celebrated a renewal of its grounds in 1578. As already noted, the Hongū B mandara appears to date to the latter half of the sixteenth century. It is therefore likely that the mandara was commissioned by one of Asama's inns following Takeda's order to rebuild the shrine, and used as an aid in their fundraising [End Page 390]

Figure 11. Fuji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Edo period (seventeenth century). Ink and light colors on paper, 126 x 103.2 cm. Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine, Shizuoka. Source: Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine.
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Figure 11.

Fuji sankei mandara, hanging scroll, Edo period (seventeenth century). Ink and light colors on paper, 126 x 103.2 cm. Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine, Shizuoka. Source: Fuji Hongū Sengen Shrine.

[End Page 391] for the 1578 renewal.39 The painting thus reflects the push to rebuild Asama Shrine and the impending decline of Murayama.

While we do not have a similar record of Murayama Temple's fund-raising history, we do know that Murayama's dōshabō were very powerful in the sixteenth century and that, like Asama's dōshabō, they contributed a great deal of their profits to the maintenance and rebuilding of Murayama's grounds. Thus, it is possible that one or several of Murayama's dōshabō commissioned the Hongū A mandara to encourage and increase kanjin and to spread Fuji faith while advertising the area and the benefits of climbing the mountain. Alternatively, it may have been a wealthy, well-connected patron such as Imagawa Yoshimoto, with the means and access to the Kano painting studio, who commissioned the mandara for the temple to use in its kanjin endeavors.40 The remarkably good condition of the painting suggests that it has always been highly valued and treated with care.

A great deal more research is necessary to fully understand the complex iconography and historical circumstances surrounding the production of the Fuji sankei mandara, but this brief comparison illustrates some of the ways patron temples inserted their interests into the paintings, overlaying their pilgrimage-cosmological guide maps with institutional claims to power and prestige.


Maps provide a snapshot of human knowledge at the time and place of their creation and are inevitably stamped with the interests, attitudes, and world views of the mappers and their societies. There are always choices to be made when delineating and representing spaces, and those choices reflect the biases of the mapmaker. I have argued that this is the case for sankei mandara, map-like images commissioned by low-ranking, wayfaring monks and nuns, which were both functional guide maps and highly constructed images charged with partisan views of the represented site. I have shown that sankei mandara manipulate the landscape in response to both religious and earthly concerns: in the first, the spatial topography has been reshaped and molded in order to create the appearance of a sacred world; in the second, the patron shrine-temple visually bolstered its institutional position by emphasizing its power and presence in the image. Comparing two versions of the [End Page 392] Fuji sankei mandara, we observed rival institutions mapping out the same space differently in order to pursue visual arguments against each other and against other images, as appearing to be the dominant institutional presence at the site would have encouraged pilgrimage and donations.

There are still many open questions regarding how sankei mandara were conceived and perceived at the time they were painted. This article has shown how the mapping agents—the kanjin monks and nuns—overlaid sankei mandara with their particular world view and their specific aspirations, a phenomenon not unique in the history of representation, but one still not fully addressed in the history of representing Japanese religious landscapes.

Talia Andrei
Columbia University
Talia Andrei

talia andrei is a Burke Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.


1. Sankei mandara is used for both singular and plural grammatical constructions. The term sankei mandara was created by twentieth-century scholars. There is no documentary evidence to suggest these paintings were referred to as mandara (a transliteration of the Sanskrit term mandala) at the time they were produced. Surviving inscriptions and diaries refer to paintings used in etoki (narrative recitation) as ezu 絵図 (picture-chart/diagram) or kozu 古図 (old chart/diagram). Nevertheless, in the Kamakura period the meaning of the word mandara was expanded to include any kind of diagram describing something religious. For example, an entry in Emperor Hanazono's (1297–1348) diary from Shōchū 2 (1325) declares that paintings illustrating Kasuga's precincts were called mandara. The emperor goes on to remark in this entry that everyone has a mandara these days and uses it for rituals and as a substitute for visiting Kasuga. The paintings of shrine-temple grounds under discussion, therefore, were likely conceived under this broad concept of mandara. A transcription of the relevant passage from Emperor Hanazono's entry reads: 「以春日曼荼羅図画社頭気色、以是号曼荼羅、近年毎人所 持物也、擬 社頭之儀、致供物等種々之儀」正中二年(1325)十二月廿五日条 (12th month, 25th day). This translates as: "Kasuga mandara are paintings of Kasuga's shrine precincts. They are called mandara; these days everyone has one and uses it as a substitute for visiting the shrine, performing rituals (before the mandara), and making various offerings" (Hanazono 1982–1986, 3:163). [End Page 393] For more on the expanded meaning of mandara in the Kamakura period, see Foard (1980).

2. Scholars who refer to sankei mandara as annaizu include Shimosaka Mamoru, Nishiyama Masaru, Tokuda Kazuo, Kuroda Hideo, Ueno Tomoe, and Ōtaka Yasumasa, among others.

3. For a detailed discussion of the mandalization of space, see Moerman (2005, 75–84) and Grapard (1982).

4. See Fujisawa (1985, 61–62) and Naniwada's chapter entitled "Miya mandara no shosō," in Koezu (1972). See also ten Grotenhuis's "The Kami-Worshiping Tradition: Kasuga" (1999, 142–162).

5. Refer to note 1 for full quote, in which Hanazono also declares that all paintings of Kasuga shrine precincts are called mandara.

6. See entries for the 16th to 24th days of the 5th month in Kujō Kanezane (1908, 2: 22). Translated by Moerman (2005, 83).

7. For a detailed analysis of the shōen system, see Kuroda (1996). On the rise of the merchant and artisan classes in the Muromachi period, see Toyoda and Sugiyama (1977).

8. Janet Goodwin describes the fundraising tactics of Buddhist temples in medieval Japan in her Alms and Vagabonds: "Ever in search of more effective methods to increase donations, temples expanded their use of entertainment for kanjin purposes, charging admission to theatrical performances such as sarugaku, dancing, sumō wrestling, and recitals of the war chronicle Heiki monogatarai, and kanjin hijiri regularly trotted out picture scrolls in public places, using them to explain why one should donate to their temple" (1994, 151). For a discussion of different ways religious institutions raised money after the decline in landed power in the late medieval period, see Laura Nenzi's chapter "Purchasing Re-Creation," specifically the section entitled "Trading Spaces: Old Sites, New Options" (2008, 142–148).

9. Kanjin refers to fundraising by the monastic community for specific public projects, such as providing critical aid during famine or following a natural disaster, for the restoration of temple halls, for rituals and services, or for public works projects such as the construction or rebuilding of roads and bridges. Kanjin hijiri traveled around the country collecting donations from all levels of society, and their fundraising campaigns became one of the means by which Buddhist monks spread their teachings, though the monks often referred to themselves as muen 無縁(unattached), indicating that they did not belong to any temple and had no doctrinal affiliation. According to Janet Goodwin: "Though public campaigns for donations were conducted occasionally in the Nara period (710–794) and somewhat more frequently throughout the Heian [End Page 394] period (794–1185), they increased in frequency at the end of the eleventh century. Thereafter, kanjin campaigns became a regular means of temple fundraising, expanding in scope and obtaining recognition and assistance from state authorities" (1994, 2). For a detailed discussion of kanjin, kanjin solicitors, and Kamakura-period kanjin campaigns, see Goodwin (1994). For early kanjin hijiri practices, see Foard (1996, 357–397).

10. Three Chōmeiji sankei mandara were discovered in a box with two Kanshin jikkai mandara in Chōmeiji's Kokuyadera. For a close iconographic and material analysis of the paintings, including the way Chōmeiji's Kanshin jikkai mandara were hung using a rope and hooks, and with a conclusion that the Kumano bikuni (nuns) were likely involved with all of the Kokuyadera kanjin for temples along the Saikoku sanjūsansho, see Ogurisu (2011).

11. The inscription reads: "播州印南?報恩律寺七堂図 永禄十一年戊辰二 月十五日 勧進道叡." For a discussion of the Hōonji sankei mandara and the Nachi sankei mandara (Fudaraku version) and their inscriptions, see Shimosaka (2003, 474–479).

12. In 1638, the Tokugawa government instituted a policy in which all households were required to register at a local temple [dannadera]. According to Kenneth A. Marcure, "By means of an annual examination of religious beliefs (shūmon aratame 宗門改め), household members procured a temple certificate (teraukejō 寺請け状) to the effect that none of them were Christian. At one stroke, all Japanese were incorporated administratively into the existing Buddhist structure. Temples acquired additional material support in the form of annual contributions from people who had formerly been on the periphery of the Buddhist establishment. Temples also benefited in the form of labor contributed from each household for the upkeep of its buildings and property. Households that had not been formally affiliated but had occasionally participated in ceremonies and rituals now became members of the temple. Even Shinto priests were obliged to become members of temples and their shrines were placed under the control of government officials (bettō 別当 or shashō 社掌), who were often chosen from the ranks of the Buddhist clergy. . . . The edict further provided that people had to attend certain Buddhist rites, in particular, ceremonies on the anniversary days of ancestors, in order that their temple certificate should retain its validity. The death penalty was prescribed in cases of a lapsed certificate" (1985, 42).

13. Takeda Tsuneo believes this is a substitute for the gold leaf ground used in elite painting (1968, 74).

14. Many scholars have grappled with interpreting the meaning of the sun and the moon iconography. The most comprehensive study is by Michele L. Bambling [End Page 395] (2001). Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis suggests one way of understanding the iconography as it appears in sankei mandara is as "the light that will guide pilgrims to their destination, both by day and by night, light that is emblematic of the benefits that devotees will receive in this world and in the world beyond" (1999, 172–173). According to Max Moerman, "The paired sun and moon over the scene [of the Nachi sankey mandara], like the flourishing variety of trees—cryptomeria, cherry, and plum—indicates an auspicious but unspecified temporality" (2005, 33).

15. For a description of the etoki toolkit for sankei mandara, see Akai Tatsurō's chapter "Fudasho no sankei mandara" (1989, 284–297).

16. Sankei mandara sites are as follows, with the number of extant versions in parentheses: Kongōshōji 金剛證寺 (1), Jimokuji 甚目寺 (1), Chūsonji 中尊寺 (3), Rokudō Chinkōji 六道珍皇寺 (1), Higashi Kannonji 東観音 寺 (1), Dokyōji 道脇寺 (1), Hōrinji 法輪寺 (1), Hōraiji 鳳来寺 (1), Hōonji 報恩寺 (1), Myōkokuji 妙国寺(1), Myōyōji 明要寺 (1), Ryōanji 龍安寺 (1), Zenkōji 善光寺 (1) Yasaka Hōkanji 八坂法観寺 (1), Sumadera 須磨寺 (1), Senkōji 千光寺 (1), Kōyasan 高野山 (3), Semuiji 施無畏寺 (1), Nachi 那智 (36), Kimiidera 紀三井寺 (1); Kokawadera 粉河寺 (2), Sefukuji 施福寺 (3), Fujiidera 葛井寺 (1), Mimurotoji 三室戸寺 (1), Kiyomizudera 清水寺 (2), Yoshiminedera 善峯寺 (1), Nakayamadera 中山寺 (1), Nariaiji 成相寺 (1), Matsuodera 松尾寺 (1), Chikubushima 竹生島 (2), Chōmeiji 長命寺 (5), Atsutasha 熱田社 (2), Ise Jingū 伊勢神宮 (4), Kitanosha 北野社 (on silk, 1), Gionsha 祇園社 (1), Tagasha 多賀社 (3), Nikko-san 日光山 (1), Nikkosha 日光社 (1), Fuji 富士 (Asama Sengen Shrine, silk, 6), Masumidasha 真清田社 (1), Yoshino 吉野 (1), Sekidō-san 石動山 (1), Hakusan 白山 (5). This list is taken from Ōtaka (2012, 26–32). Ōtaka includes paintings of Tateyama 立山 (48) in his study of sankei mandara. I have chosen not to include Tateyama mandara because the majority of examples date to after the seventeeth century, and therefore postdate the medieval period kanjin activity associated with the sankei mandara genre.

17. This combination of perspectives is found in other Japanese religious paintings such as the Kasuga miya mandara, where Mount Mikasa is depicted at the top of the painting, to the north of the shrines, when it should be placed to the east. See Nenzi (2008, 29).

18. Iwahana Michiaki, Nishiyama Masaru, Shimosaka Mamoru, and Ueno Tomoe have observed the detailed portrayal of shrine-temple grounds in sankei mandara.

19. As already mentioned, there is a precedent for this kind of virtual travel, recorded in Fujiwara Kanezane's (1149–1207) diary about a trip through the [End Page 396] Kasuga miya mandara to the Kasuga Shrine. Excerpts from the entries for the sixteenth and seventeenth days of the fifth month of Juei 3 (1184) are as follows: 「今日神斎、依明日可奉拝図絵御社也」「自奈良僧正許、被奉図絵春日 御社一鋪」 (Kujō Kanezane, 1908, 2:22).

20. The full name of the temple is Kōbōji Temple-Murayama Sengen Shrine. For a history of religious practice at Fuji in English, see Earhart (1989).

21. The modern term for this movement is sangaku bukkyō 山岳仏教 (mountain Buddhism). Endō Hideo refers to this period as "shugenki" (the Shugen period) (1978, 30).

22. A number of documents refer to Murayama's dōshabō as the "Murayama sanbō," or the three of Murayama: Daikyōbō 大鏡坊, Ikesaibō 池西坊, and Tsujibō 辻坊. According to a document from Bunmei 10 (1478), Murayama butsuzō 村山仏像, Murayama had six dōshabō (without listing the names of the individual , Fujinomiya Shishi records that there were seven dōshabō at this time, eight if Tsujibō is included; however, the corresponding table, "Murayama shukubō ichiran," lists the names of only six dōshabō from this document). Later, due in part to the patronage and protection of Imagawa Yoshimoto, the number of Murayama dōshabō increased to twelve (Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 1:542).

23. Imagawa's statement also included the following information: Murayama was deemed a sacred place; those who were impure could not enter or exit; other shukubō were not allowed to steal Murayama's dōsha (pilgrim-climbers); there was no fighting or quarreling allowed on the grounds; and while climbing Fuji no one was allowed to bother or create obstacles for the dōsha.

24. According to extant records, Fuji erupted in 781, 800, 826, 864, 870, 937, 999, 1033, and 1083 (Endō 1978, 29). The earliest reference to an eruption is found in the Shoku Nihongi, and it lists the eruption as occurring in Tenō 1 (781). The Nihon Kiryaku lists eruptions occurring over three consecutive years: Enryaku 19 (800), Enryaku 20, and Enryaku 21 (Hisano 1993, 130). The earliest formal reference to Asama Shrine is found in the Engi shiki jinmyōchō of Enchō 5 (927), where the shrine appears as Asama no jinja 浅間神社 of Suruga kuni; Fuji's kami is listed here as a daimyōjin 大明神 (great kami) (Nishimuta 1996, 345–346).

25. The word used is actually tamashi 魂, so "spirit" might be a better translation here than deity—the unruly manifestation of Fuji's spirit.

26. 「大宮道者坊事、古へ享禄・天文年間ハ、凡三十ケ餘坊有之由伝フ」 (Horiuchi 1994–1995, 132).

27. 「御炊坊ノ事。弘治・永禄年間二七ケ坊許ヲ集メ合セタルト申伝フ。春長 坊ハ十二三ケ坊集メタルト申伝フ」(Horiuchi 1994–1995, 131; Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 1:540). [End Page 397]

28. Other ledgers from Ōmiya's dōshabō list the number of people and the amount of money paid by each party (Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 1:544).

29. According to the Otakibō's ledger, after Eishō 6 (1509) there were dōshaba (congregations; in Omiya dannaba were called dōshaba) in Suruga (36), Mikawa (37), Tōtōmi (130), Owari (25), Ise (27), Shinano (14), and Mino (11) Provinces. There were no dōshaba to the east of Suruga (Horiuchi 1994–1995, 132–138).

30. For example, according to the Fujinomiya shishi a representative from Ōmiya collected the Rokudō-sen 六道銭, a transit tax in the amount of 36 mon, while a representative from Murayama collected a fee for climbing 山中役銭 near the Ōmuro Dainichi in the amount of 100 mon (Fujinomiya Shishi 1986, 1:545).

31. Takeda Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu had formed an alliance and captured Totomi Province in 1570.

32. For a transcription of a later signboard that contained the same directives, see Horiuchi (1994–1995, 138–139).

33. A detailed description of the relationship between the Murayama yamabushi and the Imagawa family, with an analysis of the historical documents, may be found in Kondō (1985, 70–81).

34. According to the Fujinomiya shishi, this was a major blow to the Murayama and marked the beginning of their decline.

35. A description of the rebuilding may be found in Fujinomiya Shishi (1986, 1:638).

36. According to Hirano Eiji, pilgrims had to purify in both the Wakutama Ike in Ōmiya and the Ryūzu no taki (the manmade waterfall used for the Murayama's Rokkon shōjō kori) before they were allowed to climb Fuji, though he does not identify a date for when this practice began (Hirano 1986–1993, 285).

37. Takahashi Shinsaku (2016) argues that the style of painting in the mandara is evidence that Motonobu was involved with the production of this work (particularly the way the buildings, clouds, and figures are represented, as well as the slanted composition). Takahashi believes the mandara was painted in collaboration with Kano Hideyori (1501–1557), pointing to comparable figures in Hideyori's Maple Viewing screen, and therefore dates it to between 1545 and 1559. According to Tsuji Nobuo (1994), the silk is too badly damaged around the seal to reach a definitive conclusion about whether this is indeed Motonobu's seal or not. Ōtaka Yasumasa believes it was painted by Motonobu's studio (2012, 238).

38. One of the records is the 1583 Fuji sankei dōsha kanjin sen (Ōtaka 2004a, 12–14).

39. This is based on the argument made in Ōtaka (2004a, 16–17). [End Page 398]

40. Takahashi Shinsaku (2016) argues that Imagawa Yoshimoto commissioned the Hongū A mandara for Murayama temple.


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