Under the Gaze of the Stars: Astral Mandalas in Medieval Japan - Japanese Mandalas

In conjunction with the exhibition Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars, Bernard Faure, Professor of Japanese Religion at Columbia, draws on his knowledge of Esoteric Buddhism to discuss the astral mandalas of medieval Japan. The mandala was held to be “a gate to the invisible world,” providing a structure through which the Buddhist practitioner could perceive the pantheon of deities—each deity a facet of Buddha—and even take on some of these gods’ potency himself. Faure considers these mandalas not as an art historian, but as a religious studies scholar, seeking to return the mandala to its original context.

Bernard Faure, Kao Professor in Japanese Religion, Department of Religion, Columbia University; introduced by Sinead Kehoe, associate curator, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Learn more about Japanese art during the Kamakura and Nanbokucho periods (1185-1392):

Learn more about Asian Art at the Met:

Related Videos