Iconographic Drawings of the Deities of the Womb World Mandala (J., Taizō Zuzō)


Iconographic Drawings of the Deities of the Womb World Mandala (J., Taizō Zuzō)

Japanese paintings / Nara

By Zenkaku

Kamakura period, 12th century/Kenkyū 5, 1194

Two handscrolls; ink on paper

Scroll 1: H 30.3, L 1409.7; Scroll 2: H 30.3, L 1333.0


Provenance: To-in of Mii-dera Temple, Shiga Prefecture


The Buddhist figures in this Taizō-kai (Garbhadhātu or womb) Mandala are depicted in lines drawn in ink. The first volume contains the Buddhist figures from the Chūdai Hachiyō-in central section, Jimyō-in section, Kannon (Avalokiteśvara) group, Monju (Mañjuśrī) group, Jogaishō group, Jizō group and Kokuzō group. The second volume covers the Buddhist figures from Shaka (Śākyamuni) group, and the outer Kongō (Vajra or diamond) group. In both of the scrolls icons were arranged in two lines, and a portrait of Priest Zenmui (Śubhakarasiṃha) of esoteric Buddhism is painted at the last part of the scroll. According to the inscription placed next to this portrait, the iconographies in these scrolls were based on the text of the Dainichi-kyō (Maha-vairocanabhisaṃbodhi-vikurvitadhiṣṭhāna-vaipulya-sutrendra-raja-nāma-dharmaparyana sūtra) which was translated by Priest Zenmui into Chinese at Luoyang in China. The scrolls introduced in this article are the third copy made in 1194. The first copy was made during the Eikyū era (1113―1118), and the second one was made during the Jishō era (1177―1181). Although they are copies, the Buddhist figures are depicted in a way as if the muscles of their bodies contained springs—which shows the influence from India and the western districts in China; the iconographies reflect the style of the original version well. It is known that the original version, which consisted of one handscroll, was acquired by Priest Enchin who divided it into two scrolls and brought to Japan.

Masterpieces of Nara National Museum. Nara National Museum, 1993, p.51, no.34.

Related Works

Search items related to work chosen