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AMIDAJI: MORTUARY ART, ARCHITECTURE, AND RITES OF EMPEROR ANTOKU'S TEMPLE

Gunji, Naoko (2007) AMIDAJI: MORTUARY ART, ARCHITECTURE, AND RITES OF EMPEROR ANTOKU'S TEMPLE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    My dissertation analyzes the art, architecture, and rites related to mortuary ceremonies for Emperor Antoku and the Taira at the Buddhist temple Amidaji in Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Amidaji served as a mortuary temple for the eight-year-old emperor Antoku and the Taira clansmen, who, defeated in the final battle of the Genpei War, jumped to their deaths in the cold seas off the coast of Akama in 1185. Because the child emperor and the Taira drowned themselves, their spirits, unable to access the next world, were believed to become malicious ghosts who threatened the living and the nation. Amidaji, constructed in front of the battle site and where Antoku's body was believed to be interred, assumed major responsibility for the rituals to appease these ghosts and to assist them in attaining rebirth in the Western Paradise of Amida Buddha. Despite its importance, Amidaji was abolished and was then replaced by a Shintô shrine during the persecution of Buddhism in the late nineteenth century. The buildings of the temple were demolished and the majority of Buddhist icons and implements were destroyed. Several key artworks, including the portraits of Antoku and the Taira as well as the sliding-door paintings depicting the life of the emperor, survived; however, the removal of artworks from the architectural settings where rituals took place stripped their primary functions. In order to recover the lost meanings of the art and architecture of Amidaji, this dissertation positions the art and architecture as integral ritual components and attempts to reconnect them with the various contexts in which they actually functioned.My study is based on a visual analysis of surviving works of art and architecture at Amidaji, a close study of textual and pictorial evidence, and a survey of the actual site. I explore the roles of the art and architecture where a variety of elements—artifacts, rites, patrons, and specific circumstances of politics, society, history, culture, economy, and religion— intersected. This study enhances our understanding of the art and architecture of Amidaji and illuminates the broader context where their specific meanings and actual functions were created.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    Creators/Authors:
    CreatorsEmailORCID
    Gunji, Naokonaomoonriver@hotmail.com
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Committee ChairGerhart, Karenkgerhart@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberWilkins, DavidDGW2@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberRawski, Evelynesrx@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberLinduff, Katherynlinduff@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberPenkower, Lindapenkower@pitt.edu
    Title: AMIDAJI: MORTUARY ART, ARCHITECTURE, AND RITES OF EMPEROR ANTOKU'S TEMPLE
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: My dissertation analyzes the art, architecture, and rites related to mortuary ceremonies for Emperor Antoku and the Taira at the Buddhist temple Amidaji in Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Amidaji served as a mortuary temple for the eight-year-old emperor Antoku and the Taira clansmen, who, defeated in the final battle of the Genpei War, jumped to their deaths in the cold seas off the coast of Akama in 1185. Because the child emperor and the Taira drowned themselves, their spirits, unable to access the next world, were believed to become malicious ghosts who threatened the living and the nation. Amidaji, constructed in front of the battle site and where Antoku's body was believed to be interred, assumed major responsibility for the rituals to appease these ghosts and to assist them in attaining rebirth in the Western Paradise of Amida Buddha. Despite its importance, Amidaji was abolished and was then replaced by a Shintô shrine during the persecution of Buddhism in the late nineteenth century. The buildings of the temple were demolished and the majority of Buddhist icons and implements were destroyed. Several key artworks, including the portraits of Antoku and the Taira as well as the sliding-door paintings depicting the life of the emperor, survived; however, the removal of artworks from the architectural settings where rituals took place stripped their primary functions. In order to recover the lost meanings of the art and architecture of Amidaji, this dissertation positions the art and architecture as integral ritual components and attempts to reconnect them with the various contexts in which they actually functioned.My study is based on a visual analysis of surviving works of art and architecture at Amidaji, a close study of textual and pictorial evidence, and a survey of the actual site. I explore the roles of the art and architecture where a variety of elements—artifacts, rites, patrons, and specific circumstances of politics, society, history, culture, economy, and religion— intersected. This study enhances our understanding of the art and architecture of Amidaji and illuminates the broader context where their specific meanings and actual functions were created.
    Date: 20 September 2007
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 14 May 2007
    Approval Date: 20 September 2007
    Submission Date: 22 July 2007
    Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-07222007-204150
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Buddhist temple; Shinto shrine; death; ghost
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:52
    Last Modified: 20 Sep 2012 01:15
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-07222007-204150/, etd-07222007-204150

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