Asai Kiyoshi: Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto - Honolulu Museum of Art

Artist: Asai Kiyoshi

Title: Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto

Date: c. 1950

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Source: Honolulu Museum of Art
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Nanzen-ji is a well-known Rinzai-sect Zen Temple in Kyoto. First built in 1291 as a villa for the retired Emperor Kameyama (r.1259-1274) it was later converted to a Zen temple, and is famous for its beautiful garden. Saitö depicts a narrow interior view, with only an outside fence, a balcony handrail, black sliding doors, and tatami mats visible in the print. His stunning composition represents the temple with only a few vertical and horizontal lines, nuanced with subdued black, gray, and green hues. Saitö transforms the Zen simplicity and organization of this classical structure into a modern design recalling the abstract geometric paintings of Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). (from Saito Kiyoshi exhibition 3/20/07-)

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