The development of permanent sandpaintings from the 15th to the 20th century
Japanese tray pictures
From the 15th c. in Japan, Buddhist artists in the times of the shoguns practiced the craft of bonseki by sprinkling dry colored sand and pebbles onto the surface of plain black lacquered trays. They used bird feathers as brushes to form the sandy surface into seascapes and landscapes. These tray pictures were used in religious ceremonies. Japanese esoteric Buddhism was transmitted from East Central Asia after the eighth century, and thus these Japanese Buddhist sandpaintings may share earlier historical roots with the more intricate brightly coloured Buddhist sand mandalas created by Tibetan Buddhist monks.