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Outlandish Buddhist Paintings from the Late Edo period- Five Hundred Arhats by Kano Kazunobu

Outlandish Buddhist Paintings from the Late Edo period- Five Hundred Arhats by Kano Kazunobu / Honkan Room T1 & T2   February 14, 2006 (Tue) - March 26, 2006 (Sun)

  

Kano Kazunobu (1815-1863) was a painter who was active during the end of the Edo period mainly producing Buddhist paintings. Some of his surviving works are housed at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa and Shinshoji Temple in Narita. Five Hundred Arhats is his representative work owned by Zojoji temple in Tokyo's Minato Ward. Consisting of 100 hanging scrolls, they depict arhats with strong characters in thick colors. The unique style that stands out among the late Edo period religious paintings has attracted people's attention in recent years.

The Tokyo National Museum houses another set of Five Hundred Arhats by the same artist. Closely resembling the Zojoji version, but about a quarter of the size, the museum's set consists of 50 hanging scrolls that show the two Zojoji scrolls in one scroll. It is thought to be a trial work prior to the Zojoji version or one of Kazunobu's later works. However, until now there were few opportunities to display or publish the set in its entirety, so its precise history has not been ascertained.

In view of the recent trend to re-evaluate Kazunobu's work, this display puts the entire 50 scrolls of this work on view. We hope that the visitor will enjoy the paintings' uniquely gothic charm. In addition to the museum's fifty scrolls, two scrolls from Zojoji Temple are included in this display. We would like to express our gratitude for the temple's kind cooperation.

 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Five Hundred Arhats, By Kano Kazunobu, Edo period, 19th century
Five Hundred Arhats, By Kano Kazunobu, Edo period, 19th century (Lent by Zojou-ji, Tokyo)