immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)





(See Chapter Two, "Between Worlds: Akakura's Architecture of Potential Transformation," esp. pp. 58-65, 77-83)

I. Images In the Shinden (Inner Sanctuary): 

 Praying to Akakura Daigongen

This  votive painting, very similar to a painting on the opposite wall, shows the shrine foundressand another worshipper kneeling to the left of  Fudo waterfall; across from them, again suspended ona golden brocaded cloud, stands the white haired elderly manifestation of Akakura  Daigongen,  bearing a large banner in his right hand.  On either side of the gorge at the top of the waterfall, are two trees, bending inwards towards one another.  (Some shrine members gloss these as the two trees from which the shimenawa is hung over the gorge, every May 1st, during the Mountain Opening ceremony.) Just above the  top of the waterfall, a bird flies between the two trees, from right to left; like the dragons in other paintings, the bird has one of its legs extended forward. Like the dragon, the bird is at times glossed as an incarnation of Akakura Daigongen.

Whole Painting:

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(Detail: Foundress)

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Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)