MATERIAL: Woodblock Printed
TYPE: Hanging Scroll (Kakejiku)
DIMENSIONS: 8 1/2 X 13 1/3 inches (each print) 8 1/2 X 26 2/3 inches (total image) 9 1/2 X 41 1/3 inches; 3 1/2 ft. (total kakejiku)
CONDITION: Fine impressions and colors, good shape for the age.
LANGUAGE
Language: Japanese
REFERENCE EXTERNAL LINKS: Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō

ITEM ID: 1075
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Woodblock Painted Hanging Scroll

DATE
Decade: 1850s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)

A woodblock painted hanging scroll of Katou Kiyomasa (加藤清正) by the artist Yoshitora. Katou Kiyomasa is one of the most famous feudal lords, a legendary hero, a master castle builder. The legend to the right indicates that this drawing is the representation of deified Katou Kiyomasa. The legend to the left describes his name and ranking titles. Katou Kiyomasa, was serious believer of Nichiren sect (日蓮宗).

The two kinds of family crest used by Katou Kiyomasa, namely a Ja-no-me (Snake’s eye) and a bellflower.

The banner is the Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō (南無妙法蓮華經; sometimes truncated phonetically as Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō) (English: Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra / Glory to the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra) are words chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism.

The words Myōhō Renge Kyō refer to the Japanese title of the Lotus Sūtra. The mantra is referred to as Daimoku (題目)[3] or, in honorific form, O-daimoku (お題目) meaning title and was first publicly declared by the Japanese Buddhist priest Nichiren on 28 April 1253 atop Mount Kiyosumi, now memorialized by Seichō-ji temple in Kamogawa, Chiba prefecture, Japan.

The practice of prolonged chanting is referred to as Shōdai (唱題) while mainstream believers claim that the purpose of chanting is to reduce suffering by eradicating negative karma along with reducing karmic punishments both from previous and present lifetimes, with the goal of attaining perfect and complete awakening.

According to scholar Sugihiko Uchida, “A painting of Katou Kiyomasa (加藤清正), one of the most famous feudal lord, a legendary hero, a master castle builder.”

Scholar Brian Bergstrom notes that, “The banner is the Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō.”

ARTISTS
Name: Utagawa Yoshitora
Type: Artist
Artist Information: Utagawa Yoshitora was a designer of ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints and an illustrator of books and newspapers who was active from about 1850 to about 1880. He was born in Edo (modern Tokyo), but neither his date of birth nor date of death is known. He was the oldest pupil of Utagawa Kuniyoshi who excelled in prints of warriors, kabuki actors, beautiful women, and foreigners (Yokohama-e). He may not have seen any of the foreign scenes he depicted. Yoshitora was prolific, he produced over 60 print series and illustrated over 100 books. In 1849 he produced an irreverent print called Doke musha: Miyo no wakamochi ("Funny Warriors-Our Ruler's New Year's Rice Cakes"), which depicts Oda Nobunaga, Akechi Mitsuhide, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi making mochi rice cakes for the shogun Tokugawa leyasu. A poem by Sawaya Kökichi accompanies it, reading "Kimi ga yo wo tsuki katametari haru no mochi" ("Tamping down the reign firm and solid like spring rice cakes"). Censors interpreted the print as a criticism of authority and had Yoshitora in manacles for fifty days. Soon after Yoshitora was expelled from Kuniyoshi's studio, possibly due to the print, but he continued to produce illustrations prolifically. From the 1860s Yoshitora produced Yokohama - pictures of foreigners amid rapid modernization that came to Japan after the country was opened to trade. He collaborated on a number of landscape series, and in the Meiji period that began in 1868 he also worked in newspapers. The last of his known works appeared in 1882.