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Full Enlargement

Detail C

Detail C

Detail B

Detail B

Detail A

Detail A

Detail F

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Detail E

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Detail D

Detail D

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Medieval Ink Paintings

View of Ama-no-hashidate

  • Hanging scroll
  • Ink and light color on paper
  • 90.0 cm X 178.2 cm
  • Muromachi Period (c.1501-1506)
  • National Treasure
  • AK 228

This masterpiece depicts a bird's-eye-view of the famous sandbar in Tango province, one of the Three Famous Scenic Spots in Japan. It can be dated by the coexistence in the painting of the two-storied Chionji temple pagoda, which was built in 1501, and the buildings of Nariaiji temple, which burned down in 1507. It is remarkable to think that the artist, who was well into his eighties at the time, climbed to such heights to paint the scene! The painting's combination of soft, wet ink tones, precise brushwork and sublime composition represent the acme of Sesshu Toyo's (1420-1506) art.

This painting can be considered the masterpiece of an artist who went to China to study painting from life and the art of the Song and Yuan Dynasties and sought the unity of Zen and art throughout his life.

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