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Ink Painting and the Rinpa Tradition

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Wakamiya of Kasuga Shrine

Period:
Nanbokuchō period (1336–92)
Date:
early 14th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and cut gold on silk
Dimensions:
Painting: 29 3/4 x 15 in. (75.6 x 38.1 cm) Overall with mounting: 62 1/2 x 201/2 in. (158.8 x 52.1 cm) Overall with mounting and rollers: 62 1/2 x 22 1/2 in. (158.8 x 57.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Promised Gift of The Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation Inc., and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997
Accession Number:
1997.113
  • Description

    In a conflation of Buddhist and Shinto imagery, this portrait represents the god of the Wakamiya Shrine at Kasuga. The painting focuses on the ethereal form of Wakamiya, emphasizing the sanctity of the childlike figure who is seated on a pink-and-white lotus pedestal within a large circle. He wears a kimono and a sleeveless jacket with a design of cherry blossoms, butterflies, and swallows, suggestive of the elysian fields of Kasuga. The long sword in his hands symbolizes his honji, or Buddhist equivalent, the bodhisattva Monju (Sanskrit: Manjushri). Monju is often depicted as a youthful figure to represent the deity’s immaculate knowledge.

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