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Durham University

Experience Durham


Experience Durham events are open to all staff, students and members of the local community.

Mountain Gods, Cosmic Buddhas, and Local Grudges in early medieval Japan

5th February 2020, 19:30 to 21:15, Lecture Room EH009, Elvet Hill House

Lecture by Philip Garrett, Lecturer in Japanese History at Newcastle University, on the interrelationship between sacred spaces and political geography in Kamakura-period Japan. Open to all.

This talk introduces the interrelation between sacred space and political geography in Kamakura-period Japan (1185-1333) by examining the ritual and economic control of the esoteric Buddhist temple complex Kōyasan and its connected local shrine complex, Amano.

The sprawling multi-institutional complex at Kōyasan dominated the political, economic, and sacred world of the mountains of Kii, and was linked by its foundation myth and economic support to the local gods at Amano. As Kōyasan developed into one of the largest landholders in the country, the complex world of overlapping legal systems, kinship, institutional autonomy, and ritual protocol became increasingly interwoven with political and economic import.

Philip will look at one incident in which mountain ascetics, warriors, sacred horses, celebrity monks and the Mongol Invasions all came together to reshape that relationship in a changing medieval society.

Philip Garrett is the Lecturer in Japanese History at Newcastle University. He read for the BA and M.St in Japanese at Oxford University before completing a PhD in early medieval Japanese history at Cambridge. His primary interest is in the intersections of kinship, law, space, and the sacred in medieval Japanese society, and his current work explores these through the lives and lawsuits of monks and local families connected to the temple complex Kōyasan. He has a secondary interest in earthquake and tsunami history. At Newcastle, he is a member of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology and Degree Programme Director for History.
This lecture is hosted by the Friends of the Oriental Museum, as part of the 2019/20 series.

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