Art of Japan and Hishida Shunsō: Nature and Buddhism
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Hishida Shunsō was born in 1874 and died in 1911. Hence, his life was cut short because of ill health. However, the rich legacy of Shunsō continues today.
Interestingly, a few years before he died, he painted a stunning Buddhist art piece titled Bodhisattva Kenshu. Hence, one can only imagine how this religious art piece touched his heart. Especially in the late stages of his life, when he feared going blind.
Bodhisattva Kenshu is revered in the Kegon sect of Buddhism. Thus, with darkness descending on the life of Shunsō, he could fuse art and faith with a deep passion. Therefore, during periods of remission, he painted desperately because he feared going blind concerning his kidney disease and other health concerns.
Despite his short life, the Meiji period in Japan enabled Shunsō to travel. He gained greatly from this because he picked up new ideas and witnessed different artistic concepts. In 1903-1905, Shunsō visited several European nations, India, and the United States.
In a sense, this was a golden period before the storm that would ultimately lead to his death at such a young age. Thus, it is heart-warming to know that Shunsō had the opportunity to see many parts of the world during his short time on this earth. Therefore, in 1907 when the art piece Bodhisattva Kenshu was completed, the religious angle of this art piece was multi-dimensional for Shunsō.
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