The Lotus Sutra, one of the principal scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism, is at once a great work of literature and a profound religious classic, containing the core and culmination of the historical BuddhaÆs ageless teaching of compassion and the way to achieve liberation from suffering. For more than fourteen hundred years, since its introduction into Japan early in the sixth century, the Lotus Sutra has been a rich source of subjects and themes for the countryÆs artists. Generations of priests, nuns and lay believers confident in the sutraÆs promise of spiritual reward for those who revere it and pay it homage have made opulent transcriptions of it, fashioned lavishly ornamented vessels for its preservation, and commissioned votive art depicting its narratives and religious teachings.
As Art of the Lotus Sutra eloquently reveals, the range of artistic expression inspired by the Lotus Sutra is astonishing: miniature altars, bronzes, lacquerware, vibrant mandalas, wall paintings, hanging scrolls, narrative picture scrolls, and sculptures, as well as embroidered, handwritten and printed copies of the sutra itself. Much has been written in Japanese about the Lotus Sutra and the magnificent artworks related to it, but not until Bunsaku Kurata and Yoshiro Tamura compiled the present book was it possible to bring this material together in a single volume in English.