Masterpieces of KNM



These sliding-door panel paintings decorated the Hojo Hall (Hall of Danna) of Obai-in, one of the sub-temples within the compound of Daitoku-ji Temple. The artist is Unkoku Togan (1547-1618) who served under the feudal lord Mori in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He later entered into the priesthood and succeeded as abbot of Unkoku-an Temple, where Buddhist priest-artist Sesshu had originally lived.

This is a realistic landscape painting in typical Togan style. Mountain cliffs, large rocks, and houses are skillfully arranged around the central element of a vast range of water. Shirai Kayo may have been referring to these panels when he wrote of "an excellent landscape painting and well-ordered arrangement" in his art criticism work, Gajo Yoryaku. The detailed brush strokes and use of perspective in the composition indicate that this is one of the earliest extant paintings by Togan, but thus far no record has proved its actual date of production.

by Unkoku Togan
Four panels, ink on paper
Proportions: 179.6 x 141.5 cm (each)
Momoyama Period (16th Century)
Important Cultural Property
(Obai-in Temple, Kyoto)

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