Sunday, April 8, 2012

Karma Crown; The Tengai Progression

Ippitsusai Buncho 1765-1792

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Hasegawa Mitsunobu 1740

Keicho okite-gaki, the first memorandum issued to the komuso, in 1677, states in clause 5, that "The komuso should not take off their headgear indiscriminately; they should make sure they have thorough understanding for[the significance of] this."  The word used here for headgear is hokan,  literally "karma crown."

Shakuhachi researcher Nakatsuka Chikuzen noted that the tengai (“canopy”) was not in common use until after the Meiwa era (1764–1771), with reference to woodblock prints of komusō from that time.

According to “Kyotaku denki” (1795) the tengai was introduced by Kusunoki Masakatsu, the alleged first komusō.  In a passage where Masakatsu, a.k.a. Kyomu, explains his clothing: “Kyomu continued, ‘I have made a new ordinance: the basket-hat is to be called tengai it shall be irreverent for a man engaged in these religious austerities to take off the basket-hat. His face must be covered with it when he meets others. The idea is to assume a life of seclusion even in town.” A later 1792 version of “Keichō okite-gaki” does not carry the word tengai, it may indicate that the story in Kyotaku denki kokuji-kai, published in 1795, was the first time that the deep basket type of hat was prescribed.

Okumura Masanobu 1700-1764

Suzuki Harunobu 1724-1770

Suzuki Harunobu 1724-1770