Monk Nichiren in Exile on Sado Island, from the series "Illustration of Famous Monks"
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797–1861)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Oban: 9 3/4 x 14 3/4 in. (24.8 x 37.5 cm)
Henry L. Phillips Collection, Bequest of Henry L. Phillips, 1939
Not on view
Kuniyoshi's series of ten prints published in 1835–36 was an abridged biography of the life of the monk Nichiren (1222–1282), the founder of the Nichiren Buddhist sect, which is based on the worship of the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren lived in exile on Sado Island from 1271 to 1274.
This particular masterpiece of ukiyo-e printmaking creates a perfect resonance between pictorial and emotional presentation. The severe snowstorm symbolizes the hardships Nichiren underwent during his exile. The monk demonstrates his strength of spirit by persevering in his uphill struggle.
Signature: Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi hitsu; red seal: Kuniyoshi
Marking: Censor seal: Kiwame
Henry L. Phillips , Hyannisport, MA (until d. 1939; bequeathed to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Snow in Ukiyo-e Prints and Paintings," October 20, 2004–November 26, 2005.