Recently, I've been exploring how medieval Japanese kingship followed a symbolic grammar similar to that of the great Hindu-Buddhist empires of Southeast Asia. As was the case in places like Borobudur, Prambanan and Angkor, sprawling temple-palace complexes and monumental pagodas helped Japanese rulers—not necessarily emperors—assert an anthropocosmic connection between themselves and the divine. They were legitimising their rule based on foreign idioms of authority.
A photographic survey of the inner, first gallery of Borobudur in Central Java, Indonesia. The gallery includes the Lalitavistrara (lower) and Manohara (upper), carved depictions of the lives of the Buddha and other canonical actors.