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The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity
     

The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity

by Royall Tyler
 

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In this annotated translation and study of an early fourteenth-century Japanese devotional picture scroll set, Royall Tyler illuminates the complex relationships between medieval Japanese religion and politics, text, and art. The Kasuga Gongen genki ("The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity") mingles text and painting on silk to tell the tale of miraculous events

Overview

In this annotated translation and study of an early fourteenth-century Japanese devotional picture scroll set, Royall Tyler illuminates the complex relationships between medieval Japanese religion and politics, text, and art. The Kasuga Gongen genki ("The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity") mingles text and painting on silk to tell the tale of miraculous events at the Kasuga shrine in Nara, a site favored by the dominant Fujiwara clan for centuries. The work's values are aristocratic, but the text sheds light on the syncretic nature of the era's religious practices, allowing Tyler to collapse the distinction between high and low forms of medieval Japanese religion. Tyler provides a detailed examination of the scrolls, the shrine, and their history and political role. He also elucidates the scrolls' relationship to literary genre and religious practice, including the interaction between Shintoism and Buddhism. His copious annotations describe the work's historical context, as well as its religious and cultural influences. This study is essential for scholars of religion, art historians, and cultural historians alike.

Editorial Reviews

The Journal of Asian Studies - Gary L. Ebersole
A well-researched study that one hopes will spur further inquiry into the complex interplay of art, religion, and politics in the Heian and Kamakura periods. It is highly recommended to a broad readership.

The Journal of Japanese Studies - Allan G. Grapard
This is a remarkable book; it is the mark of a renewed interest in medieval studies by Japanologists and... it opens the way for a refreshing look at medieval cultural production. I highly recommend it not only to specialists of Japan, but to anyone interested in literature and religion.

Monumenta Nipponica - Bruce Darling
Tyler's informed discussion and skilled translation of the text lays the foundation for further research in literature and art on various aspects of this rich and colorful work.

Japanese Journal of Religious Studies - Robert E. Morrell
I welcome even those details that Tyler himself, in a moment of fatigue, refers to as 'tedious.' They are the fruits of good, honest work... Royall Tyler has given us an outstanding book, and none of it is superfluous. [A] valuable reference about a place and a mode of religious thought and behavior at the very heart of traditional Japanese culture.

The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese - George J. Tanabe
This is the best study we have about the very important matter of miracle stories treated not just as literature but as religious lessons.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231069588
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
12/28/1989
Series:
Records of Civilization Sources and Studies Series , #98
Pages:
314
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.19(d)

Meet the Author

Royall Tyler taught Japanese language and literature for many years at the Australian National University. He has also taught at Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Wisconsin. His translation of The Tale of Genji was acclaimed by publications such as the New York Times Book Review.

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