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No.47

NOVEMBER 1935

 

 

STUDIES ON THE "JINGOJI SHODOKI" WRITTEN IN THE SEDOND YEAR OF KAROKU ERA AND THE "TAKAOZAN JINGOJI KIBO SHUSHO NO JOJO" THE LATER DOCUMENT WRITTEN IN THE OEI ERA.

BY SHINSEI MOCHIZUKI

 

Recently, when the treasure of the Jingoji Monastery were exhibited at the Onshi Kyoto Museum to commemorate the completion of the repairing work of the Kondo and other buildings of the monastery, two ancienit documents attracted close attention of the public.

One, provisionally named "Jingoji Shodoki" (Temples and Edifices of the Jingoji Monastery), is dated the second year of Karoku (1226); the other entitled "Takaozan JingojiKibo Shusho no Jojo" (Marvels of the Jingoji Monastery) bears the date of the 15th year of Oei(1408). They were both newly found in the Jingoji Monastery by the writer.

It is true that the "Jingoji Ryakki" (Short History of the Jingoji Monastery) has hitherto been claimed as the unique source material for this monastery, but it was compiled almost a century later than the present "Jingoji Shodoki."

"Jingoji Shodoki" was, in the writer's opinion, written with the idea of addressing the Buddha on the restoration of the monastery, thus it contains a whole list of the buildings and art treasures of the monastery at that time.

The other work, the "Kibo Shusho no Jojo", is a recital of twenty-seven features in which the Jingoji excels all other monasteries or in which it is generally preeminent.

 

 

STUDIES ON THE "KOYO TANSHO ZU," SKETCHES MADE IN THE IZU AND SAGAMI PROVINCES BY BUNCHO.

BY TEIZO SUGANUMA

 

Buncho, one of the most celebrated painters in the late Tokugawa period, was favoured with the patronage of Lord Matsudaira Sadanobu, Prime Minister of the eleventh Shogun.

In 1793 (the 5 th year of Kansei), when Lord Sadanobu went on a tour around the Izu and Sagami provinces to inspect the condition of the coast defences, he took Buncho with him to sketch beautiful scenes on their journey. The sketches thus made were collected in two scrolls and entitled "Koyo Tansho" (Beauties sought in Leisure). There are 79 sketches in all, each painted in colours on papr measured 23.8 cm. in height and 32.4 cm. in width.

As shown on the plates, the artist has used a fine line expressive of something like the effect of an etching. It is of note that perspective and chiaroscuro are both observed carefully. It is evident that the artist was trying to reproduce Nature faithfully, while borrowing various techniques from European painting.

Buncho was much interested in Occidental art. He accepted the technique of European style painting, and confessed his own opinipn about it in his essays on the pictorial art.

 

 

ON THE TECHIQUE OF DECORATION OF THE SO-CALLED HEIKE NOKYO, THE SCROLLS OF BUDDHIST SUTRAS DEDICATED TO THE ITSUKUSHIMA SHRINE BY TAIRAS.

BY SHIMBI TANAKA

 

A practice of transcribing Buddhist sutras as a thank-offering for the Buddha's mercy or in prayer for eternal happiness in the future life was enthusiastically pursued among the nobels of the Fujiwara period and there are extant a number of sacred scriptures thus transcribed. Among them, the so-called "Heike Nokyo," consisting of th'rty-two scrolls of illuminated sutras in the Itsukushima shrine, excells all others in its richness.

These scrolls were written by thirty-two selected members of the Taira clan, and dedica'ed by their patriarch, Kiyomori, to the shrine in the second year of Chokan (1164).

Each scroll commences with a frontispiece exquisitely illuminated with silver and gold. Between the verses there are also painted various pictures: some of them illustrating the meaning of the text; others showing various customs and manners of court nobles without any relation to the text. The mounting of the scroll is also magnificent. The caps of the roller are ornamented with engraved figures in gold and silver and the hasso(edge ornament) is engraved in open-work.

The painting reproduced on P1. II is chosen from the Kanjibon scroll. Depicted are two ladies paying homage to a Buddhist image. Large cut leaves of gold and silver on the mauve-tinted ground serve to emphasize the features of the ladies' dress which are coloured in lapis-lazuli and enameld.

On P1. III is presented the frontispiece of the Kannonbon scroll. One may notice the Ashide.e-a pecuuiar style of designing as a synthesis of painting and calligtraphy. (P1. XI show verso of the above-mentioned paintings)

Mr. Shimbi Tanaka has an unequalled reputation as the most eminent copyist of ancient paintings. He one made four sets of faithfyl cpoies of the Heike Nokyo. (These copies are possessed by the Itsukushima shrine, Baron Masuda, Baron Yasuda and Baron Dan.) He tells in his article of the techniques employed in the illumination and mounting of the Heike Nokyo; and his explanation is based on his own ample experiences in making meticulous examination of this famous art treasure.

 

 

P1. IV & V. Portrait of Taira Shigemori. ATTRIBUTED TO FUJIWARA TAKANOBU

Painted in Colours on Silk. Moumted as a Kakemono.

Size: H. 139.3 cm., W. 111.9 cm.

In the Jingoji Monastery, Kyoto.

 

This potrait of Taira Shigemori is, together with the portraits of Minamoto Yoritomo, Fujiwara Mitsuyoshi, and Priest Mongaku, ascribed by tradition to Fujiwara Takanobu.

Although we cannot certify this tradition, the fact remains that the portrait cannot be later than early Kamakura, and that is known as the best and ths oldest of all the non-relighious portrait painting in the "Yamato-e" style.

 

P1. VI. Swallow and Willow Tree. Wagtail and a Bamboo. BY SAIAN.

Painted in Ink on Paper. Mounted as Kakemonos.

Size of each Painting: H. 93 cm., W. 40.3 cm.

In the Collection of Mr. Shuzo Komori, Mie-ken.

 

If we study the paintings of the Higashiyama period (15 th century), we shall frequently come across painters whose lives are shrouded in obscurity. Saian is one of such painters. Examples of his works are rare and, moreover, the individual paintings do not disply a common style.

These facts suggest that Saian was not a professional painter but a Zen priest showing unusual talent in the pictorial art.

 

P1. VII. View of Mount Fuji. BY TANI BUNCHO.

Painted in Colours on Silk. Mounted as a Kakemono.

Size: H. 72 cm., W. 127.5 cm

In the Collection of Mr. Seiichiro Chujo, Tokyo.

 

Tain Buncho, 1464-1841, studied painting in the atelier of Kato Bunrei. Though he is said to be a painter of the Nanga school, he also stydied other schools, both Japanese and Chinese, and used even the technique of European style paintin.

Since Mt. Fuji was his most favorite subject, he left many a master work on this subject. We know from the inscriptions on the painting that it was made in the second year of Kyowa (1802) when the artist was forty years old.

 

P1. VIII, & XIII. Image of Saint Nichiren.

Sculpture in Wood, painted.

Height: 85.7 cm.

In the Hommonji Monastery, Tokyo.

 

Nichiren, 1222-1282, was the founder of the Hokke sect. His teaching was strongly nationalistic in its character and was a sort of protest against the effeminate tendency of the Buddhists in his days.

The present image in the Hommonji Monastery vividly catches the heroic spirit of this militant priest.

As ollustrated on P1. XIII, the image was carved in 15 separate parts. From the inscriptions written on the inside we learn that it was donated to the monastery by Nichiji and Nichijo, both disciples of Nichiren, in the first year of Shoo (1288).

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