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Portrait of the Priest Shinran
Important Cultural Property
1 hanging scroll
(Some of the works of thePortrait of the Priest Shinran)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, painted also on the scroll-part
H 120.2, W 81.1(painting); H 148.8, W 86.2 (mounting)
Kamakura period/13th-14th century
Provenance: Jofuku-ji Temple, Kyoto Prefecture
Nara National Museum
Shinran Shonin (1173-1262) received tokudo ordination from the priest Jichin from Shorenin and became Honen's disciple after engaging in intense practice in Nanto, Hieizan. After the death of Honen, Shinran wrote the book called "Kyogyo shinsho" and founded Jodo Shinshu.

This painting is known as Kumagawa no Miei and represents Shinran wearing Kesa (robes for Buddhist monks) and wrapping a hood around his neck while sitting on a bearskin rug covering Tatami mats and holding Buddhist rosaries in his hands. There is a walking stick lying down in front of him. Although the painting known as Anjyo Miei includes a fox skin as a rug and a hibachi brazier and zori (Japanese sandals) are placed in addition to the walking stick, they are not included in this painting.
These paintings both represent the active missionary work of Shinran and the image through the eyes of his disciples glancing at him with deep respect is felt from the aged Shinran calmly seated in this painting. On the right top corner of this painting, the following poem is written. “行者宿報設女犯 我成玉女身被犯 一生之間能莊嚴 臨終引導生極樂.” This is a poem that Kuze (or Guze) Kannon told Shinran in a dream when he was on retreat in Rokkakudo. It is written in an illustrated biography.

This painting well presents the face of Shinran. However, it has neither the features represented by the sharp lines in the painting of Anjyo no Miei nor the features represented by a realistic expression, almost as if offering a close look at the person in the painting of Kagami no Miei. This painting is thought to have been drawn in the late Kamakura period, slightly later than the above two, when Jodo Shinshu matured and it is notable that the expression followed the traditional technique of the old style images of high priests.

The following is written on the Makidome. “信房御影 [四句文尊円親王/繪浄賀法橋].”
According to this, the poem in this painting was written by Shoreninryu Sonen (1298-1356) and this
painting was drawn by Joga (1275-1356). Joga is the painter who Kakunyo (1270-1351) had create the first painting (Zenshinshonin Shinrandene) in 1295. The painting style is called Kourakujiha and he drew illustrated biographies and portraits of Soshi (the founder of a Buddhist sect). However, it seems none of his actual paintings remain, therefore there is some doubt whether this painting is his only existing one.

The initial Byohyougu remain on the left, right, top and bottom of this painting.