The materiality of a promise: Interworldly contracts in medieval buddhist promotional campaign imagery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Narratives in the fourteenth-century didactic paintings Shidoji engi e and Yūzū nenbutsu engi preach that supernatural entities are actively involved in Buddhist devotional projects. Vows and other commitments to engage in nenbutsu practice, or to restore a temple, initiate exchanges with the heavens and the netherworld that support their fulfillment. Interworldly networks thereby convey to audiences the rewards of participation in a promotional or fundraising campaign and back that up with the threat of hell. Both image contexts portray documents as a medium for transcending worlds, emphasizing writing in ways that empower campaign documents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-390
Number of pages50
JournalJapanese Journal of Religious Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1



  • Fundraising
  • King Enma
  • Netherworld
  • Oaths (kishōmon)
  • Promotion (kanjin)
  • Revival narratives (soseitan)
  • Shidoji engi e
  • Yūzū nenbutsu engi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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