65 full-page & four double-page woodcuts. 32; 57; 53; 59 folding leaves. Four vols. 8vo, orig. gray wrappers (wrappers a little tired), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Kyoto: Sawada Kichizaemon 澤田吉左衞門, 1703.
Rare edition of this guide to a famous Japanese Pure Land mandala. In the Preface to our book, dated 1702 (Genroku 15), Gizan recounts how his old friend, the lay believer Mujin 無塵, who had obtained a supreme paint powder in nine shades as a gift from the deity Kuma no gongen 熊野権現 when a rock split next to his house, wanted to use it to paint a mandala for Chion-in temple 知恩院, the center of the Pure Land school. Mujin was allowed to see and copy old mandalas that were specifically taken out of storage for him. Gizan, who was affiliated with Chion-in, saw the mandala and noticed many differences with transmitted copies of the same motif. He therefore wrote the present book, which contains illustrations and explanations.
Taima mandala is “a tapestry based on the Amitâyus Visualization Sūtra (Guan wuliangshou jing 觀無量壽經). The left side-strip depicts the scenes of the imprisonment of King Bimbisāra 頻婆娑羅 and Queen Vaidehī 韋提希 by their rebellious son, Prince Ajātaśatru 阿闍世…The central court depicts the magnificent view of the Land of Bliss presided by Buddha Amitâyus 阿彌陀淨土變…The original tapestry has been badly faded and so it is difficult to scrutinize, especially in the bottom-strip. Many clearer copies, however, survive…Some advocate the Chinese origin, while others the Japanese origin” (Digital Dictionary of Buddhism). The Taima mandala tapestry is now held at the Nara National Museum.
Gizan (1647-1717, lay family name Mima 三魔) was a Kyoto monk of the Pure Land school. He spent time in Edo but returned to his hometown. Gizan wrote a commentary to the biography of Hōnen 法然 (1133-1212), the school’s founder.
WorldCat 1183122344 is printed in the same year but has a different imprint.
Fine set, preserved in a chitsu. Occasional unimportant worming.
Item ID: 9708