Tani Buncho



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32 drawings on paper that are folded into book form. Images are of a female, either alone or with another person. If present, the other person is smaller than that of the main female. The cover has Japanese characters on a gray and black background. In poor condition with loose binding and some worming throughout. The creator is Tani Buncho, a Japanese painter who was born in 1763 and died in 1840 or 1841 in what is now Tokyo. The main female figure depicts Kannon, the goddess of mercy, who personifies compassion. Kannon is the most popular and beloved bodhisattva in Japan. Kannon is the Japanese adaptation of the Chinese goddess Guanyin, who herself was an adaptation of the Indian bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Kannon is not a Buddha, but a Bodhisattva, a being who is able to achieve Nirvana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings. According to an article by Maria Reis-Habito in Marian Studies, when Christianity was banned in Japan during the Tokugawa Era (~1615-1867) many Christians, "preserved their Christian beliefs by adopting statues of the Buddhist deity of compassion, Kannon, as substitutes for the images of the Blessed Virgin. Their devotional life centered around Maria Kannon, or 'Mary in Buddhist Guise.'" The complete article can be found at






19th Century


Marian Library, University of Dayton


drawings, Kannon, Tani Buncho, Buddhist diety, Buddhism

Permission Statement

This item is in the public domain.

Streaming Media

Album of thirty-two drawings depicting the Buddhist divinity of mercy