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Buddha (B); image of a famous 7th-century sculpture at Hôryûji, Nara

Accession Number
1987/1.240

Title
Buddha (B); image of a famous 7th-century sculpture at Hôryûji, Nara

Artist(s)
Saitō Kiyoshi

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1959

Medium & Support
color woodblock print on paper

Dimensions
23 5/8 in x 17 15/16 in (60.01 cm x 45.56 cm);20 11/16 in x 15 1/16 in (52.55 cm x 38.26 cm);24 3/4 in x 18 7/8 in (62.87 cm x 47.94 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Lawrence Preuss

Label copy
The Creative Print (sôsaku hanga) movement played a strategic role in the transformation of American-Japanese relations during the Cold War. In the decades before and after the Second World War Americans were receiving conflicting messages about Japan, which was successively presented as an exotic land of geisha, an increasingly evil adversary of America and its culture, and finally as a much-needed ally against communism in Asia. Post-war, the people of the United States and Japan were encouraged by their governments to embrace one another as friends (although with America occupying Japan until the 1950s, this friendship was less than equal) and art was considered an attractive vehicle for promoting this political goal. Already popular among occupying forces, the work of Creative Print artists appealed to the larger American audience because it both resonated with nostalgic pre-war conceptions of Japan and was infused with a modern sensibility.
This modern presentation of traditional Japan is one that the versatile Saitô captured masterfully in his work. Famous places in Japan were one of the most popular subjects of Edo (1615–1868) and Meiji (1868–1912) period woodblock prints, and Creative Print artists strove to represent them in innovative ways. A native of Sakamoto in Fukushima Prefecture, here Saitô used the snow-covered imagery of his far northern hometown to present a view of Japan that drew on the past yet was visually fresh.
(Gallery Rotation Fall 2011)
Gallery Rotation Fall 2011
Saitô Kiyoshi
Japan, 1907–1997
Buddha (B)
1959
Showa period (1926–89)
Color woodblock print on paper
Gift of Dr. Lawrence Preuss, 1987/1.240
Gasshôzukuri Farmhouses in Snow
ca. 1958
Showa period (1926–89)
Color woodblock print on paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Honer, 1994/2.4
The Creative Print (sôsaku hanga) movement played a strategic role in the transformation of American-Japanese relations during the Cold War. In the decades before and after the Second World War Americans were receiving conflicting messages about Japan, which was successively presented as an exotic land of geisha, an increasingly evil adversary of America and its culture, and finally as a much-needed ally against communism in Asia. Post-war, the people of the United States and Japan were encouraged by their governments to embrace one another as friends (although with America occupying Japan until the 1950s, this friendship was less than equal) and art was considered an attractive vehicle for promoting this political goal. Already popular among occupying forces, the work of Creative Print artists appealed to the larger American audience because it both resonated with nostalgic pre-war conceptions of Japan and was infused with a modern sensibility.
This modern presentation of traditional Japan is one that the versatile Saitô captured masterfully in his work. Famous places in Japan were one of the most popular subjects of Edo (1615–1868) and Meiji (1868–1912) period woodblock prints, and Creative Print artists strove to represent them in innovative ways. A native of Sakamoto in Fukushima Prefecture, here Saitô used the snow-covered imagery of his far northern hometown to present a view of Japan that drew on the past yet was visually fresh.

Subject matter
This is one of a series of prints by the artist portraying famous Buddhist sculptures of Nara (the capital of Japan in the 8th century and a major monastic center). Several other prints from this series are in UMMA's collections.

Physical Description
Despite the title given by the artist, this print is a highly abstracted representation of a famous 7th century sculpture of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (J. Kannon), in the collection of Hôryûji Temple, Nara.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Primary Object Type
color print

Additional Object Classification(s)
Print

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Buddhas (visual works)
Buddhism

1 Related Resource

Buddhism
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display