Mt. Fuji


Sacred Symbols in Profane Japan

New York Asia Week, March 20th - 27th, 2010

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Scholten Japanese Art

Scholten Japanese Art and Ryo Iida Asian Art are pleased to announce our eleventh collaborative project: Sacred Symbols in Profane Japan, an exhibition of paintings and religious objects of devotion from the Kamakura period (14th century) to the Late Edo period (19th century). The opening on Saturday, March 20th and the extended hours the following day will coincide with our participation in the Asian Art Dealers New York ( Open House Weekend. This exhibition is focused on sacred symbols in Japanese art, including Buddhist and Shinto works of art.

The earliest paintings included in the exhibition are detached segments from the 14th century emakimono (handscroll): Kegon Gojugo-sho Emaki (Illustrated Handscroll of the Pilgrimage of Zenzai Doji in Fifty-five Stages). The scroll depicts the story of Zenzai Doji, a youth who searches for the teachings of the Buddha after he meets the Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom, Monju Bosatsu. Zenzai Doji was told to go southward to visit saints, at the end of his journey he meets the Bodhisattva of Universal Goodness, Fugen Bosatsu, who lectures on The Ten Great Vows in order for Zenzai Doji to ultimately attain spiritual enlightenment. Zenzai Doji's southern pilgrimage to 53 places and his encounters with 55 saints are illustrated in the Kegonkyo Sutra. The two fragments from the Kegon Gopjugo-sho emaki handscroll to be exhibited are from stage forty-three (Tenshuko-tennyo) and stage forty-seven, (Kenggedatsu-choja). The other surviving fragments from this famous handscroll are in collection of museums such as The Museum Yamato Bunka Kan Nara, and Museum Rietberg Zurich.

One of the highlights of the show is a painting of the monk Daruma by Ogawa Haritsu (Ritsuo 1663-1747) which is inscribed with a poem about Daruma by Kozan Garyu (1718-1792), a monk of Koshoji-Temple in Uji. Ritsuo was a very well-known (and sought-after) painting, lacquer and metalwork artist who studied with both the Kano and Tosa schools. The story of Bodhidharma (popularly known as Daruma), the early 5th century Southern Indian prince turned monk and his extreme austerity (nine years of gazing at wall in meditation) is widely known among Japanese. Although his role in transmitting Zen Buddhism to China (and subsequently Japan) is revered, the somewhat ill-tempered monk is also regarded as a talisman of good luck in Japan. In this painting by Ritsuo, Daruma is depicted with a dark complexion and scruffy facial hair which identify him as both foreign and an ascetic, while his large eyes and gruff expression are typical of Japanese renderings of the beloved subject.

Another fine painting is Mt. Fuji by Kikuchi Yosai.(1781-1878) with poem by Unno Yukinori (1794-1848). According to the element-zodiac cycle kanoto-ushi, it was done in 1841. While the painting appears to be a landscape in admiration of the beautiful Mt. Fuji, the inscription by the artist at the upper left includes the kanji, 'shin' (lit. 'truth'), in reverence to the sacred Mt. Fuji as an object of worship. Devotion to Mt. Fuji is one of the more ancient practices of the Shinto religion.

The show also includes a 14th century painting of Amida Raigo (Amida descending), a 15th/16th century painting of Juroku-Zenshin (Bosatsu's Sixteen Protectors); a lively ink painting of Ebisu by Sengai Gibon (1750-1837); a pair of ink paintings depicting Marching Monks by Nantembo Nakahara (1839-1925); and a pair of album leaves by Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-1889) depicting the pair of Bodhisattvas, Fugen and Monju Bosatsu.

Scholten Japanese Art is located at 145 West 58th Street, Suite 6D, between 6th and 7th Avenues. For the duration of the exhibition, March 20 - 27th, the gallery will have general open hours (no appointments needed), 12 - 5 pm.

We are pleased to be participating in the schedule of events organized by the Asian Art Dealers New York, including extended hours on Saturday, March 20th, 12 - 7 pm and Sunday, March 21st, 12 - 6 pm.

Exhibition Dates March 20 - 27, 2010, 12 - 5 pm

Opening Reception
Saturday, March 20th, 5 - 7 pm

Asian Art Dealers New York Open House Weekend
Saturday, March 20th, 12 - 7 pm
Sunday, March 21st, 12 - 6 pm

asian art dealers new york


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
September 22, 2022

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475