Preaching From Pictures: A Japanese Mandala

Preaching From Pictures: A Japanese Mandala

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Preaching From Pictures: A Japanese Mandala

Before the 20th century, images were mute; they needed someone to explain their message. In early modern Japan, nuns of the Kumano sect (Buddhist) traveled the countryside preaching from a painting known as the Mandala of the Ten Worlds. Done in a cartoon style, the Mandala depicts the human life cycle and the worlds where we may be sent after death. Preaching From Pictures is an interactive disc that offers a 37-minute tour of the Mandala plus two hours of background information, discussions, and additional images.

The tour contrasts sacred images in the Mandala with secular glimpses of daily life in Edo, Japan's capital in the 17th century (when the Mandala was first made).

Additional materials include:

A 4-minute picture-sermon on the Mandala adapted from a nun's performance as scripted in a 17th century Japanese puppet drama, Michiyukishu.

A virtual symposium made up of 10-minute conversations between pairs of experts on Japanese history and Japanese religions: Professors Barbara Ambros, D. Michael Moerman, Brian Ruppert, Henry DeWitt Smith II, and Ronald P Toby.

Interactive features include hypermedia buttons that link the discussions to a Glossary with definitions for all technical terms, and a Gallery with thumbnail copies and source information for all images, that appear in the discussions.

A scrollable list of sources in English and in Japanese, both in print and on the internet.

Preaching From Pictures is based on a film created by the National Museum of Japanese History and used in its exhibit of the Mandala. Funds from The Freeman Foundation helped support the production of this DVD.

Video Librarian, November/December 2003, three stars

Film Festivals:
Film, Video and Interactive Media Festival of the Society for Visual Anthropology, 2004
Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, 2003
Association for Asian Studies, 2003
Society for the Study of Japanese Religions, 2005
Society for Visual Anthropology Visual Research Conference, 2005
Society for East Asian Anthropology, 2005
European Association for Japanese Studies, 2005

Title #215551
Format: DVD-R
Preaching From Pictures: A Japanese Mandala
Streaming video trailer