Shiko Munakata

Shiko Munakata, (1903-1975)

In Praise of Shokei: Kawai Kanjiro's Kiln: Calling for a Messenger (the fence of...)
(Shokei Sho Hanga Kan: Koshi no saku)

sumizuri-e hand-colored with a pinkish-brown pigment from the verso; depicting the three-eyed guardian diety Ao filling the composition (as though he were constrained by the borders), his body adorned with patterns of swirls, zig-zags and flowers; with artist's red seal Muna, and with woodblock printed certificate of authenticity: Kantei Toroku Sho; Munakata Shiko Kantei Iinkai; hand-numbered 8839, inscribed Munakata Shiko Saku and titled, Koshi no saku, with two seals, Munakata Shiko Kantei Iinkai and Munakata -?-; ca. 1945 (blocks carved)

52.5 by 39.5 cm

The print is one of a series of twenty-four inspired by a 1936 stay at the home of Kawaii Kanjiro at Shokei (in Kyoto), the location of the potter's kiln. The forty-day visit marked a turning point in his spiritual life; Kawai's lectures on Zen Buddhism and visits to the temples and shrines of Kyoto had a profound influence on Munakata. He credits Kawai with teaching him 'kokoro no hotoke ('looking at the Buddha in one's heart'). However it was nearly ten years before he produced this series in 1945, his first large scale series following the war. The twenty-four designs include three Buddhist rakan (arhat), this image of the guardian diety Ao, and twenty female figures symbolizing the natural world. In each design the figures fill the composition, some seemingly contorted in order to fit within the edges of the block.

munakata seal
certificate of authenticity


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site last updated
December 2, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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