Author Topic: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto  (Read 8785 times)

Jessie Fong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
Japan Daily Press, Feb 10, 2014

Tokyo, Japan -- A unique Buddhist tapestry went on display in Kyoto starting February 8. The rare piece uses hair from people from 300 years ago, who wished to reach paradise by having their hair woven in the stitchwork.



The piece is exhibited at the Kyoto district office of the Jodoshu, or “Pure land,” sect of Buddhism located in Higashiyama Ward, and can be seen from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM daily.


It was discovered in 1997 at the Joganji temple in Kamigyo Ward in Kyoto. Featuring Buddha in a state of nirvana, the piece is measured at 170.6 centimeters in height and 84.2 centimeters in width. Stitched in 1678 by a Buddhist priest name Kunen, who travelled all over Japan during that time and asked for hair from people would be willing to give their locks in order to reach paradise after they die. Kunen sewed black hair to the fabric to represent Buddha’s own as lies on his side at the center of the piece. On the other hand, gray-colored hair was used for the withered sal tree.


 Kunen’s other works, including mandalas, all used hair from more than ten thousand people, according to Kobe Gakuin University lecturer for Japanese cultural history Atsuko Hioki. She said that Kunen supposedly made 72 mandalas and nirvana stitchworks. However, only 8 still exist and the only nirvana tapestry that has been found is the one in Joganji. The use of human hair is famous in some Buddhist artwork, however, it is rare to see the whole design pattern composed only of hair and nothing else.



I am not sure if this is true but with my long hair down to my waist, will it ensure me a path to paradise? Do you know of any other unique art works?

Positive Change

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1008
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 01:48:56 PM »
How is this for "Art":

Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church

The Sedlec Ossuary (a.k.a. Kostnice) is a small Christian chapel decorated with human bones. It's located in Sedlec, which is a suburb in the outskirts of the Czech town Kutna Hora.

A little creepy when you first think about it but looking at the meticulous manner in which the bones are placed to form the imagery is quite astounding!












dondrup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 816
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 04:29:13 AM »
It is an unique piece of artwork using human hair. But i don't think offering one's hair to the creation of this art piece can ensure a rebirth in the said  pureland. There is no liberation or rebirth in a pureland without putting effort in transformation of one's mind!

If it was for the Mahayana Pureland Practice of Buddha Amitabha, it has two primary methods i.e. recitation of  Amitabha Buddha's name or the mediation on the Western Pureland.

bambi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 02:59:04 PM »
Kangling literally translated as "leg" (kang) "flute" (ling), is the Tibetan name for a trumpet or horn made out of a human thighbone, used in Himalayan Buddhism for various chöd rituals as well as funerals performed by a chöpa. The femur of a criminal or a person who died a violent death is preferred. Alternatively, the femur of a respected teacher may be used. The kangling may also be made out of wood.
The kangling should only be used in chöd rituals performed outdoors with the chöd damaru and bell. In Tantric chöd practice, the practitioner, motivated by compassion, plays the kangling as a gesture of fearlessness, to summon hungry spirits and demons so that she or he may satisfy their hunger and thereby relieve their sufferings. It is also played as a way of "cutting off of the ego."




rossoneri

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 386
    • Email
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2014, 03:38:22 PM »
The human skull cup, known in Sanskrit as Kapala and in Tibetan as a Thöpa, has extraordinary qualities. It is where the ordinary, mundane and confused world is transformed into its essential, pure nature. The five poisons and five worldly elements of earth, water, fire, air and space, become the Five Wisdoms. This then becomes the vehicle for making pure offerings to Buddhas, Yidams, Protectors, Dakinis and other enlightened guests. These same skull bones, male and female, are used to make the traditional Vajrayana damaru, expressing the union of this basic polarity within the context of Dzokchen or Mahamudra realization. The stable experience of the basic fabric or unitary field behind all phenomena is a core tenant of Vajrayana. Being “self-arisen” and not fabricated by the human hand, the skull bone represents our natural state, the inherent, uncontrived brilliance of unadulterated consciousness.

bambi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 03:55:50 PM »
Holy bone malas are made from the bones of mahasiddhas or lamas and hand made by highly skilled lamas, therefore, they are extremely precious. The lama who makes the holy bone mala, will chant mantras while shaping the bones into beads and polishing them. The whole process of making a holy bone mala may take over one decade, hence there goes a saying in Buddhism: holy bone malas can bring peace to the dead and safety to the living. What the holy bone mala represents, in mundane words, is that life is ever-changing and death may knock at your doors in anytime, therefore, one should be diligent in his or her practice.


Big Uncle

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1995
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 04:24:10 PM »
It is an unique piece of artwork using human hair. But i don't think offering one's hair to the creation of this art piece can ensure a rebirth in the said  pureland. There is no liberation or rebirth in a pureland without putting effort in transformation of one's mind!

If it was for the Mahayana Pureland Practice of Buddha Amitabha, it has two primary methods i.e. recitation of  Amitabha Buddha's name or the mediation on the Western Pureland.

The use of hair does not guarantee salvation in a pureland but it can certain bestow some merits on the people who donated the hair. In tantra, there is a ritual called ruchok to transform hairs, nails, bones or anything from a living or deceased individual to be transformed by ritual into a sacred relic. The ritual is believed to plant blessings and ensure a steady stream of merits for the individual. I don't see that being any different from this act. If a monks asks me for my hair to do this, I would readily agree... well, I would wash it first and purify with a incense before giving it away.

Q

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 557
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 07:48:50 AM »
Very interesting, but not a unique practice.

I am unsure that just by giving your hair you would reach paradise... but what I know is it would have a great amount of blessing. Just like how some people in Tibet, they would allow parts of their body to be turned into ritual implements when they pass away as it was said to be highly beneficial in the collection of merits for the deceased, i think this applies the same too.

But who knows... perhaps through the motivation of a great Bodhisattva, all those that donate their hair for this tapestry will reach that Bodhisattva's Pure Land... also, I think the idea behind this is to help people let go of their attachment. People tend to be so attached to their appearance... by giving up and letting go of their attachment for the sake of Dharma, maybe that generates a whole lot of merits or at least positive karma for a good rebirth.

Kim Hyun Jae

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 304
    • Email
Re: 17th century Buddhist tapestry made from human hair on exhibit in Kyoto
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 10:06:15 AM »
The offering of bones, hair, nails and so on are personal items of an individual or an animal. It is also said that we can make offerings of our beloved animals to the Buddhas ie. statues to be blessed by the tantric "ruchok" ritual for them to collect merits.

We may view these objects as offerings of personal items as "uncommon" but they are regarded as representation of respect and gratitude as well in some Indian culture. Indian women can make offerings of their hair in their temple.

http://tirumala-tirupati.com/offering-hair/

http://maradhimanni.blogspot.com/2011/12/hair-offering-customdo-you-believe-in.html