Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies: E-journal, Vol 1.2, Keyworth

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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 1.2 (2018): 70–110
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Arts)



On the ‘Shintō’ Statues of Matsuo Shrine: Tendai Buddhist Rituals, Iconography, and Veneration in Japan and China

University of Saskatchewan

Keywords: Shintō statues, Matsuo shrine, Enchin, Tendai Buddhism, Shinra myōjin, Japanese history

Abstract: Matsuno’o (Matsuo) shrine possesses some of the oldest statues of kami in Japan. A large statue of the male deity Ōyamakui may have been sponsored by Enchin (814–891), thereby illustrating how early we can document connections between the Tendaishū monastic institutions of Enryakuji and Miidera (Onjōji) and Matsuo shrine. In this paper I introduce the statues kept in the Shinzōkan at Matsuo shrine and and discuss several key historical documents that tie Matsuo shrine with the Tendai Buddhist establishment in medieval Japan. I also demonstrate how statues of kami also now kept in the Shinzōkan speak to the sponsorship of the Matsuo shrine manuscript Buddhist canon by father and son shrine priests (kannushi) Hata no Chikatō and Hata no Yorichika during the twelfth century. Finally, I discuss a colophon from 1558 that shows how the Matsuo kami shrine-temple complex (jingūji) maintained a special ritual connection to Enchin and the kami associated with Miidera through the sixteenth century.