The Invention of Tradition: Hosso mandala and Buddhist Paintings from Nara

Mandala of the Hosso School (late Heian–Kamakura periods, 12th century); panel; ink, color, gold, and silver on silk; 89.2 x 58 cm; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Fenollosa-Weld Collection, 11.4053

Anne Nishimura Morse
William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 6:00-7:00 pm

807 Schermerhorn Hall

Buddhist paintings from Nara dating to the Heian and Kamakura periods have been characterized as being conservative, merely perpetuating the styles of the eighth century. An examination of  Mandala of the Hosso School and other works, however, reveals that they were invented to be the focus of new rituals required by the religious community in the ancient capital at a time when the Japanese were responding to the onset of the Age of the End of the Buddhist Law.