in collaboration with Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Amida Buddha , Kamakura period, 1185-1334, The William T. Sesnon, Jr. Bequest, Photo © Museum Associates/ LACMA
Date & Time:
Tuesday, October 10, 7pm
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
(5700 Wilshire Blvd., #100 Los Angeles, CA 90036)
Street parking is available near JFLA. Click here for parking info.
Rather than a purely academic approach to Japanese religious art, the purpose of this lecture series is to help participants’ locate visual clues by which the deities can be identified and differentiated. The figures will be contextualized within Japanese religious history and connected to their iconographical antecedents in the arts of India, China, and Korea.
The second lecture will talk about Buddhas. For many, saying the name "Buddha" evokes the image of a serene ascetic or of a portly, laughing soul. However, the Buddhist pantheon is occupied by many different figures associated with the title ‘buddha’; the most prominent being Shakamuni, the historical Buddha; Amida, the Buddha of the Western Paradise; and Yakushi, the Medicine Buddha.
This lecture series is the product of a special collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), Japanese Art Department.
The bodhisattvas are deities who have achieved enlightenment themselves but have delayed their own exit from the cycle of rebirth to guide others to enlightenment. Japanese Buddhism is full of these strange yet wonderfully virtuous attendant deities, from the monk-like bodhisattva of the hells to the horse-headed bodhisattva of compassion.
With their wrathful visages and weapons, the Wisdom Kings protect the buddhas and intimidate wayward Buddhist practitioners back into devotion. Rather than a proclivity to violence, however, this class of deity embodies the buddha’s compassion and grace, in their unfaltering dedication to returning lost souls into his presence.
The final class of deities - known collectively as the celestial beings - primarily serve as guardians and protectors of the Buddhist cosmos. The most prominent are the Four Celestial Guardian Kings who oversee the cardinal directions, the chief of whom came to be worshiped alone as a Buddhist deity; other examples include the Temple Guardians and Twelve Celestial Generals.
*Date are subject to change
Michael VanHartingsveldt graduated in 2017 with a Master’s Degree in East Asian Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Claremont Graduate University. His work as a research and curatorial intern with the Pavilion for Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has culminated in several notable projects, including a detailed analysis of LACMA’s sculpture of Fudō Myōō and an exhibition with Hollis Goodall entitled “Japanese Paintings: A Walk in Nature” on themes in Edo-period paintings of the landscape.