MARCH 1937

This summary is compiled by Mr. TAKASHI KATSUKI.






In the present paper the writer whose opinion concurs with that of Mr. Saburo Hasegawa discusses the date at which Sesshu began using Sesshu as his brush name. Attention is also drawn to the fact that there was another Zen priest calling himself by the name of Sesshu before Sesshu (Sesshu Toyo) was born. The name which Sesshu held before he adopted the brush name Sesshu is a matter on which the writer offers his theory as the result of his own study.

According to Mr. Hasegawa, Sesshu took this appellation as his brush name sometime between the third and sixth years of Kansho (1462-1465 A. D.) when he was between forty-two and forty-five years of age. This finding is based on a manuscript given to Sesshu by Ryuko Shinkei, Zen priest, in which the latter says that sesshu began to call himself by that name from a calligraphy of two words, Sesshu, written by Fan-ch'i Ch'u-shih, Chinese Zen priest, and which Sesshu had acquired.

This historical fact is important in the study of the life of Sesshu as well as of his works and one of which a thoughtful treatment might be well worthwhile at some other time, but at present must be abandoned.

Again calling attention to the existence of the person who called himself Sesshu (Sesshu Kayu, d. 1375 A. D.). the writer emphasizes the fact that the life of Sesshu, the artist, which is generally known seems to be confused with that of another Sesshu. For instance there is the so-called tomb of Sesshu in Daiki-an Temple in lwami but the writer finds no positive reference on which to base its genuineness and so as a matter of course the possibility that it may be the tomb of another Sesshu can be assumed. If so, a question arises next in regard to the place where our Sesshu died. According to old records, Sesshu, the artist, resided in Suo after attaining the age of about forty-five with the exception of a visit to Bungo district and it is the opinion of the writer that it is more appropriate to consider Suo as the place where Sesshu died, instead of lwami as is generally believed. The eulogistical poem written by Ryoan Keigo (d. 1514 A. D.) on the landscape by Sesshu (cf., Landscape by Sesshu in Ohara Collection, by Nobuo Kumagai. The Bijutsu Kenkyu. February 1937) also supports the Suo theory.

As mentioned before, Sesshu adopted his famous brush name between the age of forty-two and forty-six; what was it previous to that? His name as an artist must have been widely known already. There are some paintings signed with the name Sesshu which is pronounced the Same way but consists of entirely different characters. However, the general style of those paintings is acknowledged as that of Sesshu.

The writer, herewith, submits his theory that the name of Sesshu may have been his brush name previous to his later famous brush name Sesshu written thus Sesshu. His solution boils dowh to this: that Sesshu had such a deep respect for the art of Josetsu, a Zen priest who came over from China, also an artist of fame, that he probably named himself Sesshu after Josetsu adding the last of the two characters of Josetsu to the first character of his own brush name. The name Sesshu is supposed to have been used by himself before, although there is no positive evidence, judging first from the cognate style of the paintings done under both names, and second from the foresaid etymological interpretation of the name.






The writer deals with the Horokaku Mandala of the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, under the same title--Two Masterpieces of Buddhistic Painting in American Collections--in which the Yamantaka of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, was dealt with in the previous number of the Bijutsu Kenkyu.

The Horokaku Mandala was formerly in Baron Kawasaki's private collection and was known as a masterpiece. Of this work the late Professor Sentaro Sawamura of the Imperial University of Kyoto has made an iconographical study in his book, "Studies on the History of Japanese Painting," which is generally accepted.

Due to the poor representation of the architectural form the Horokaku Mandala, particularly in contrast to that of the Yamantaka of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will seem flat to eyes accustomed to seeing European painting. However, the Freer Gallery of Art is to be commended for adding this masterpiece to its collection in recognition of its artistic merit and likewise by reason of this the writer has chosen it here.

In the present paper the writer elucidates this iconographic painting in reference to the sutra for which this painting was made as an illustration. Examination of the painting reveals that the background, in which flying angels were originally painted in the sky above the building, is seemingly vacant for the angels have now completely disappeared.

scrutiny and comparison of this work with another Mandala which is represented by one now in the possession of Hobodai-in Temple, Kyoto, (Pl. IV) are carefully thought out. The Horokaku Mandala of Hobodai-in Temple is considered to have been painted in about the same period as the Horokaku Mandala of the Freer Gallery of Art, and thus the Hobodai-in Mandala is useful in the study of comparison.

Of these two different types of Horokaku Mandala that of the Freer Gallery was more generally followed in Japan. The writer explains the Freer Mandala in comparison to a drawing (fig., p. 97) made according to the eighth chapter Gazo-hon of a Buddhistic sutra Daihoko-hakurokaku-zenju-himitsu-daranikyo. The Freer Mandala is artistically one of the most distinguished masterpieces in Buddhistic painting; as a Horokaku Mandala it is one of the oldest examples in existence, and shows skillful unity in the most orthodox style.

The Hobodai-in Mandala is based on the seventh chapter Konryu-mandara-hon of the same sutra and the pronounced difference between the Freer Mandala and the Hobodai-in Mandala is their composition in which the former is done after the manner of architectural elevation while the latter is somewhat plan-like. Further explanation of the Hobodai-in Mandala is also attempted by the writer.

However, apart from its iconographical meaning the Freer Mandala is important in the history of Japanese art, mainly for its preeminent quality of painting which though delicate and charming is not immediately overwhelming. The blue, vermilion and pale-green representing the building with its blue tiles and the ground as well as the jewel-like effect in the embellishment of the three principal figures are indescribably beautiful. The exquisite linear drawing of the figures is in harmony with the innocent expressions of the faces.

In the light of the abovementioned points the Freer Mandala will be considered a masterpiece of Japanese painting, embodying that aristocratic sentimentality, which is characteristic of Heian Buddhism.

What part of the Heian period, then? The writer finds some common features between the present Mandala and the Nirvana of the Reihokan Museum on Mt. Koya, painted in 1086 A. D., although the former is much more delicate in technique on the whole. The Freer Mandala appears also similar in style to the Samantabhadra of the Imperial Household Museum, Tokyo, and although it is difficult to give any definite date, yet the writer finally ascribes this Mandala to the Insei (Cloister Government) period (1087-1155 A. D.).

Furthermore, the date seems to be justified by the following historical fact that in the esoteric sect in Buddhism the use of the Mandala painting as the main divine medium in religious ceremony, based on the Horokaku code, was popular at the time.

The writer, having made a study important in the light of architectural history, points out that three examples of the Hon-kaeru-mata, or the old style frog-crotch, are found in the Freer Mandala above the beams of the first and second floors respectively. The earliest appearance of the frog-crotch in architecture of the Heian period is in the two remaining buildings near Kyoto built in the late Fujiwara period.

This reference to the history of architecture may be taken as a supplementary factor in recognizing the date of the Freer Mandala to be the Insei period.






In the previous number of the Bijutsu Kenkyu the writer principally touched upon the measures taken immediately after the destruction by fire of Hase-dera Temple toward its reconstruction. Let us now discuss the rebuilding of the eleven-headed Avalokitesvara.

As the eleven-headed Avalokitesvara was the main deity of the temple the wood of which the statue was carved naturally had to be chosen carefully. The estates of the Daijo-in Temple (under the supervision of which was Hase-dera) and its subordinate temples were compelled by necessity to donate to Hase-dera certain woods considered sacred consisting of Japanese cypress, cryptomeria and other kinds of trees. According to the plan of the statue, originally drawn by a sculptor or a painter, the execution of the statue was begun by the sculptors who were appointed by Daijo-in--competition for this honour was keen. In the Kamakura period these artists were chosen from among those of Kyoto instead of Nara, probably due to the fact that the former was preeminent over the latter in skill. However, in the Muromachi period they were probably chosen from among those who belonged to Hase-dera or sculptors in Nara who were closely related to the same temple.

Assisting the sculptors were many other craftsmen engaged in the building of the statue each of whom worked exclusively along the lines of his own speciality. Detailed information based on old records pertaining to their number and wages is disclosed by the text and may be consulted there by the reader.

The actual work began on a certain auspicious day with a solemn religious ceremony. It was customary to complete the statue within thirty-three days with the exception of the final embellishments and the sculptors proceeded to make the aureole as the next step. After this the statue was turned over to the craftsmen for the final finish in varnishing, gilding with gold-leaf, etc. It is noticeable that the division of labour was necessary and was probably accounted for by the fact that this extraordinary statue of Avalokitesvara was twenty-six feet high and also by the fact that technical skill in sculpture had reached a highly advanced stage at that time.

Small precious stones, known as the Remains of Buddha, were set into the forehead of the statue of Avalokitesvara as the final touch before the dedication ceremony was held, in which. the statue was to become a deity. This, in general, was the process in the case of Hase-dera Temple which is considered one of the most representative large-scale examples. The reconstruction of the temple, however, occupied many years following the dedication of the statue of Avalokitesvara.




With Comments By KISAKU TANAKA


The following article is intended as an introduction to paintings by recorded but little known artists in the history of Japanese painting whose works are limited in number and the dates of which are obscure. For discernment the writer chiefly depends on the material on which the painting was worked out, the signature and seal of the artist as well as the style. Naturally many difficulties are encountered in such a course; therefore the writer humbly presents this research work to the reader partly as a source of study.

Chikuyo, "Han-shan and Shih-te." (Pl. X i)

According to the Honcho-ga-shi by Eino Kano, the seal which is shown on the present work is said to be attributed to Chikuyo. In view of the style of the painting Chikuyo whose life is unknown is considered an artist of the seventeenth century. Slight color on paper. Collection of Mr. Matasaburo Seikai, Osaka.

Iden, "Monkeys." (Pl. X ii)

The name of this artist is not found in any book on art except the Honcho-ga-san or the Illustrated Biographies of Japanese Painters by the famous painter Buncho (1764-1854 A. D.) in which a work by Iden and a seal resembling that on the present painting are refered to. This pahting, reminiscent of the old style, especially in the trees, is believed to have been painted in the first half of the sixteenth century. Ink on paper. Collection of Mr. Shotaro Miyamoto, Shizuoka.

Chokuo, "Eagle." (Pl. X iii)

The two seals which appear on the present painting coincide with those which are seen in the Kogabiko, compiled by Kotei Asaoka and others, in which Chokuo is introduced as a pupil of Chokuan. Judging from the style of the present work the artist is considered one of the Soga School; the commentator does not esteem him a contemporary of Hei-Chokuan yet Chokuo probably lived as late as the last quarter of the seventeenth century after Ni-Chokuan, son of Hei-Chokuan. Ink on paper. Part of pair. Anonymous collection.

Doei, Avalokitesvara. (Pl. XI i)

An artist by the name of Doei who lived about the seventeenth century is mentioned in the Koga-biko and he is said to have painted the Sakya. Judging from the style the present work seems to be of the same period. Therefore Doei. the artist of the present Avalokitesvara can be regarded as the same person whose name is recorded in the yoga-biko.

Eryu, Landscape. (Pl. XI ii)

The seal read Eryu is barely discernible but from the Koga-biko, the commentator at present recognizes it as such. However, his life and the school to which he belonged are entirely unknown. The date of the present work will not go back farther than the beginning of the Tokugawa period. Ink on paper. Collection of Mr. Totaro Tomita, Hyogo.





Pl. I Dance.

Color on paper. (Color plate). Mounted as kakemono.

Height: 62.2 cm.; width: 35.2 cm.

Collection of Mr. Ryuzaburo Umehara, Tokyo.

Explanation by Teizo Suganuma.


The present work is believed to have been mounted with other similar figures on each panel as a six-fold screen. If remounted as a six-fold screen the kaleidoscopic movements of each dancing figure would blend into complete harmony in the group. The color scheme of the present picture is after the early style of the Ukiyo-e school. The artist's adroit treatment of the female figure lends nobility of atmosphere to it notwithstanding the coquettish posture of the dancer. Judging from its style this painting must have been done during the Keicho (1596-1614 A. D.) and Genna (1615-1623 A. D.) eras by a certain artist of the Kano school in Kyoto. Unfortunately both shoulders of the figure are not original having been restored by later hands.


Pl. II & III Horokaku Mandala.

Color on silk. Framed.

Height: 144.5 cm.; width: 86.7 cm.

The Freer Gallery of Art, Washington.

(See the article by Prof. Yukio Yashiro)


Pl. IV Horokaku Mandala.

Color on silk. Mounted as kakemono.

Height: 157.6 cm.; width: 131 cm.

Hobodai-in Temple, Kyoto.

(See the article by Prof. Yukio Yashiro)


Pl. V & VI Portrait of Ex-Emperor Gouda Hoo.

Color on paper. Mounted as kakemono.

Height: 91.7 cm.; width: 53.7 cm.

Daikaku-ji Temple, Kyoto.

Explanation by Kisaku Tanaka.


This is the portrait of the Ex-Emperor Gouda Hoo (d. 1385 A.D.) after he became a Buddhist priest. The characteristic feature of this painting may be seen in the linear drawing--especially in the face--which is different from that employed by the Yamato-e school and yet it is a far cry from the technique of the Sung painting, the influence of which was predominant at the time. Unusual also is the fact that it is painted on paper instead of on silk as was then customary in portrait painting. In these respects this work is considered a unique example among Japanese portrait paintings. The white robe, a stole-like vestment with design in gold, red and blue contributes to the refinement which surrounds the portrait. This portrait was probably painted in the hte Kamakura period.


Pl. VII & VIII Landscape.

Slight color on paper. Mounted as a pair of six-fold screens.

Height: 158.8 cm.; width: 371.2 cm.

Collection of Mr. Saichi Kawase, Oita.

Explanation by Hajime Watanabe.


This landscape is the famous Si-hu in China which has also long been a favourite subject among the artists in Japan. This work in the style of the Unkoku school compared to that by Togan (fl., 1580 A. D.), founder of the Unkoku school, is inferior to the utter and it is evident that the present painting must have been painted by an unknown artist of the same school. Some artists of the later generations of Togan show much simplified technique and if this was the general tendency of the school the present screen-painting with its detailed statement relating to the style can be placed unquestionably among those of the early productions of the Togan school.


Pl. IX Vineyard and Fowl, by Shojo (Japanese, 1584-1639 A. D.).

Slight color on paper. Mounted as kakemono.

Height: 114.5 cm.; width: 27.6 cm.

Collection of Mr. Jirobei Hasegawa, Mie.

Explanation by Jiro Umezu.


Shojo, artist of this painting, was the priest of Otokoyama shrine near Kyoto and was well known for his scholarship and above all for his ingenious calligraphy, for which he was accredited as one of three greatest calligraphers of the Kan-ei era (1704-1710 A. D.). Although he is said to have been trained under Sanraku Kano (1559-1635 A. D.) his remaining works show the influence rather of the idealistic school of painting of the Ashikaga period (1392-1568 A. D.); his work is significant for its further advancement in his personal style. The present picture is done in Chinese ink with the exception of the cock's-comb which is mixed with vermilion.