Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The wandering Pure Land priest Ippen (1234–1289) offered a radical message of hope to those who believed they were living through the end of days in medieval Japan. Ippen traveled the country advocating a controversial practice of dancing while chanting the Buddha’s name (odori nenbutsu), and distributed slips of paper (fuda) that guaranteed the holder entry to the Buddha’s Western Paradise upon death. The strip of paper at top center here is one of these slips. It can be translated “Decisive settlement of rebirth: sixty myriad persons.” The mantra indicates Ippen’s desire to offer salvation to every person in the 60 provinces of the archipelago. The slip was wrapped in the adjacent sheet of paper printed with an image of Amida Buddha before being placed inside the sculpture of Prince Shōtoku.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2019.122.12.3
Title
One of Seven Sheets of Paper inscribed with Religious Texts, Poems, Charms [mounted on a board]
Classification
Calligraphy
Work Type
calligraphy
Date
Kamakura period, datable to circa 1292
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/362223
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
H. 6.4 × W. 7.2 cm (2 1/2 × 2 13/16 in.)
Provenance
[Yamanaka Shoji Co., Ltd, Awata Kyoto (1936)], sold; to Ellery Sedgwick, Beverly, MA, (1936-1960), passed; to his wife, Marjorie Russell, Beverly, MA (1960-1971), inherited; by Ellery Sedgwick, Jr., Gates Mills, Ohio, (1971-1991), inherited; by Walter Sedgwick, Woodside, CA, (1991-2019), partial and promised gift; to the Harvard Art Museums.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Partial and promised gift of Walter C. Sedgwick in memory of Ellery Sedgwick Sr. and Ellery Sedgwick Jr.
Object Number
2019.122.12.3
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu