The Hagiography of Place

The Hagiography of Place


March 13, 2018

5:30 PM-6:30 PM


225 South St
Williamstown, MA 01267

Mellon Decade Fellow Kevin Carr presents, "The Hagiography of Place: Illustrated Legends of the Zenkōji Triad and the Formation of Sacred Cartographies in Medieval Japan."

In medieval Japan, why did people make pilgrimages and donate to religious centers? What role did the visual arts, material culture, ritual, cartography, and narrative play in constructing a collective perception of sacred places across the Japanese landscape? Through close examination of the visual and textual narratives recounting the foundation of Zenkōji temple in central Japan, this talk will explore fundamental themes of destruction and absence, salvation and rebirth in the medieval Japanese imagination.

Kevin Carr teaches as the University of Michigan, where he specializes in the history of Japanese medieval religious art. His previous research focused on ritual uses of narrative art and the relationship between relic cults and hagiography. His first book, Plotting the Prince, considers these issues in light of the practices centering on the medieval cult of the semi-legendary Prince Shōtoku (c. 574-622). While at the Clark, he will be working on a monograph entitled Topographies of the Sacred in Medieval Japan, which considers the creation of notions of sacred space through art recounting the miraculous origins of religious sites.