The Cult of Kasuga Seen Through Its Art
A detailed and animating study of the syncretic cult of Kasuga Shrine at its height in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries
Kasuga was the Shinto shrine of the Fujiwara clan and was paired with Kofuku-ji, the clan’s Buddhist temple. Since the beginning of the Meiji period, Buddhism and Shinto have been officially separated. At a site such as Kasuga in an earlier time, however, the practices and beliefs appropriate to a shrine and to a temple were linked according to the pricniple that the Shinto gods were local and particular emanations of universal Buddhist deities. Thus the Buddhist deities and the paradises associated with them were present at Kasuga Shrine.
The Cult of Kasuga Seen Through Its Art examines the relationships of the Buddhist and Shinto gods of Kasuga Shrine and explains their presence at Kasuga. Using visual art as well as stories and documents, it brings to life a medieval shrine cult and defines its contribution to Japanese religion.
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