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The Tenjukoku Shūchō Mandara within the East Asian Context
Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 6:00pm

One of Japan’s most puzzling National Treasures is the assemblage of embroidered fragments known as the Tenjukoku Shūchō Mandara. Documentary evidence indicates that the fragments are the remains two artifacts: a shūchō (embroidered curtain) representing Tenjukoku (Land of Heavenly Lifespan) made in the seventh century, and its thirteenth century restoration, called a mandara (Sk. mandala). More importantly, the assemblage was categorized as an example of early Buddhist art associated with the imperial family. 

By analyzing the scant visual evidence within East Asian context, Dr. Pradel will show that the subject represented on the seventh-century artifact was not Buddhist, but that it included designs found in tombs and funerary artifacts from China and Korea. She will also discuss the designers and the project’s supervisor, who were members of immigrant groups that played a key role in the transmission of continental technology and ideas,  reminding us of how continental influences have shaped Japanese art. 

Dr. Chari Pradel is an art historian specialized in Asian art history. Her research focuses on Japanese religious art and ritual from the seventh through the thirteenth centuries.

With Support from The United States-Japan Foundation

The CJS:  Fifteen Years of Excellence, 2001/02 - 2016/17