art japanese

Rakuchū Rakugai ZuViews of Kyoto

Edo period, mid 17th century

Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper
Each 121 by 282 cm  Folding screens depicting the ancient capital city of Kyoto and its surroundings (rakuchū rakugai zu) are among the most popular genres of Japanese painting. The broad surfaces of folding screens (byōbu) were ideally suited to the panoramic cityscape, as they afforded artists opportunities both to present sweeping vistas of the capital and to focus on details of everyday life in the city. Kyoto screens first appear in documents in the...

Wood netsuke of hare
A wood netsuke of a hareHareBy Masanao, YamadaIse Province, 19th centuryWood netsuke; eyes inlaid in amberSigned: MasanaoLenght: 4.2 cm ProvenanceArlette Katchen collectionLiteratureA. Katchen, Netsuke 7, vol.2, Paris (K. R. Publishers, 2010), p. 141, no. K176 The hare is shown seated, its head raised and turned to the left, its forelegs outstretched and one hind leg forming the himotoshi.Ever present in Japanese folklore, and one of the twelve animals of the zodiac cycle, hares are a common theme for Japanese art. The term usagi can, in fact, be translated as both “rabbit...

A wood standing figure of one of  the Twelve Heavenly Generals, Heian period, 12th century
Haira TaishōA standing figure of one of  the Twelve Heavenly Generals DATEHeian period, 12th centuryMEDIUMJapanese cypressHEIGHT98 cmSKUalt-1449 The Twelve Heavenly Generals (Jūni Shinshō) protect and serve Yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha. In Japanese antique sculpture and art, they are almost always grouped in a protective circle around Yakushi Nyorai and might have symbolized the twelve vows of Yakushi, or the protection during the 12 daylight hours, or even the 12 months, the 12 cosmic directions or the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. The Jūni Shinshō are also members...

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