The Tenjin Shrine Scrolls [one of a pair], early 17th century

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Sugawara Michizane (845-903) was a celebrated statesman and scholar during Japan's classic Heian period. In order to undermine Michizane's reputation, his rivals at court falsely accused him of plotting to kill the emperor. As a result, he was exiled to the island of Kyushu where he eventually died. Later, several calamities at court were attributed to Michizane's vengeful spirit. Here, Michizane is shown as the god of thunder in the clouds above. His rage causes the courtiers who conspired against him to be struck by lightning. In order to placate Michizane's ghost, the emperor deified him as the Shinto god Tenjin (Heavenly Being) and dedicated shrines to him in Kyoto and Kyushu.

The Tenjin Shrine Scrolls [one of a pair]
Artist Life
active early 15th - 19th century
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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