We are delighted to welcome Dr Yen-Yi Chan for our monthly Japan Society lecture online in July. She will discuss her recent research on the Nan’endo building at Kofukuji temple in Nara. Please join us as we explore the history and memories of this ancient site.
Situated in a bustling area of Nara City, the Nan’endo (Southern Round Hall) is an eight-sided structure at Kofukuji temple. The history of the Nan’endo began in the ninth century and has been linked to the prominent Northern Fujiwara clan. This talk explores the interplay between memory and materiality, examining the process in which memory of the Northern Fujiwara clan became identified with the Nan’endo and was transformed and reshaped along with the history of the hall from the ninth to the eleventh century.
It analyzes how visual production and memorial rituals at the site expressed religious piety, marked kinship relationship and created memories of ancestors as well as narratives of family history. Attention is also given to setsuwa tales of the Nan’endo and replications of the building, which indicate the transformation of the site into a miraculous space. While derived from Buddhist devotion, such a transformation manifests an ever-changing familial “memoryscape” that was framed in and embodied by the hall and its images.