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Portrait of Prince Shōtoku (Shōtoku Taishi) with His Younger Brother and Son

by Anonymous

Abstract

Hanging scroll; ink, gold, and colors on silk. 70" x 26 1/2". Stored in paulownia wood (kiri) box. Prince Shōtoku (Shōtoku Taishi or Imperial Prince of Holy Virtue; 574-622) is regarded by later admirers as Japan's first great imperial statesman, the founding father of Buddhism in Japan, and the human incarnation of assorted Buddhist deities and distinguished monks. Belief in the interrelated nature of these accomplishments assured his leap to the status of mythic hero. This painting is a later version of a very famous, iconic portrait of Prince Shōtoku and his brother and son wearing Chinese-style court robes, dating to the late 7th or early 8th century and owned by the Imperial Household Agency. Paintings such as this and the cult with which they are associated came about in part because of the successful promotion of Prince Shōtoku by those with a vested interest in perpetuating the lineage of the imperial family by portraying its members as national heroes. Ironically, although power struggles within the imperial family shortly after Prince Shōtoku's death wrested authority away from his direct heirs, the usurpers could not undo the mythologizing of the Prince that elevated him to divine status.

Note

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Acknowledgement to be given to the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Project and to the college from whose collection the work comes. The individual college retains copyright to the work.

Administrative Notes

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Acknowledgement to be given to the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Project and to the college from whose collection the work comes. The individual college retains copyright to the work.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Willamette University
PID
coccc:25136