On the Iconography, Ritual, and History of the Gorinto Grave in Japan


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


East Asian Languages and Cultures


This is a proposal to spend one academic year and one summer writing up chapters of a book on the gorinto, or five-cakra stupa. This object is best known in its form as a stone grave monument, but has been used in various ways over the centuries before becoming the standard depiction of the gravestone in early modern pictorial representations. The current project traces the history, ritual, and iconography of this object, following it from it origins as a mnemonic for meditating on the five yogic elements, to a jeweled caskets for holding Buddha relics, to bone remains of royals, to stone monuments dedicated to sect founders or erected corporately by large confraternities of believers, to individual family sites where the wooden gorinto elements are mixed with stone ones.