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The Central Asian Roots Of A Chinese Manichaean Silk Painting In The Collection Of The Yamato Bunkakan, Nara, Japan

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Chapter Summary

A remarkably well-preserved Manichaean silk painting, most likely from the era of the Yuan dynasty, has been identified recently in the collection of a renowned Japanese art museum, the Yamato Bunkakan. In contrast to the relatively large amount but rather fragmentary condition of the artistic remains from East Central Asia, the southern Chinese phase of Manichaeism is documented today by a significantly smaller artistic corpus of exceptionally well-preserved representational works of art, dating from between the 12th and 14th centuries. Three of them are discussed: the Yamato Bunkakan painting is the focus of this chapter, while the other two (the Seiun-ji painting and the statue in Fujian) serve as comparative examples. Beyond the basic clues for its Manichaean identification, the scenes of the Yamato Bunkakan painting include the depictions of three pictorial subjects known to us already from the East Central Asian phase of Manichaean art.

Keywords: central Asian roots; Chinese Manichaean silk painting; Japan; Yamato Bunkakan



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