Art of Japan: Buddhist Monk and Winter

Art of Japan: Buddhist Monk and Winter

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Sawako Utsumi fuses a stunning landscape with a wandering Buddhist monk in the bleak midwinter of Japan. Indeed, the religious angle, be it Buddhism, Christianity, or Shintoism, is a theme that pops up often in her art. However, her faith is embedded in the natural rites of Shintoism that isn’t dogmatic.

In her art piece titled “Bleak Midwinter and the Buddhist Tree of Life,” you feel the strength of faith and winter. This follows on from her linkage art piece titled “Stunning Bleak Midwinter art of Northern Japan.”

Yet, in the linkage art piece, the religious angle isn’t visual. Instead, people will focus on personal inner-thoughts related to nature. Of course, these inner-thoughts can expand because art shouldn’t be contained by narrowness.

In the first of the dual linkage, the single tree is on the left. Yet, in her new art piece, it is on the right. Also, instead of a pure landscape, you now have a lonely Buddhist monk in search of a distant Buddhist temple. However, despite the bleakness and the heavy snow, the Buddhist monk isn’t distracted by the harshness he faces.

Nichiren (1222-1282) uttered, “Life in this world is limited. Never be in the least bit afraid!”

In the other linkage art piece, I wrote, “Of major difference to the influence of the artist Kiitsu is the winter setting, focusing on a traditionally based landscape. Equally, one tree instead of a plethora and being more spiritual. Thus, the passages of time are just like a butterfly but with the difference being the imagination that forms in this fleeting life.”

Overall, the Buddhist monk is determined to overcome the adversity he faces. His determination is based on reaching the Buddhist temple that remains unseen. Similarly, the amazing landscape and natural beauty do not distract the Buddhist monk.

Hence, the two realities aren’t connecting, unlike the art piece that is connecting Buddhism and nature through the prism of her Shinto faith. Thus, without words nor connections, the bleakness of winter is a natural tree of life.

This is based on mystery, nature, and words that survive the passages of time despite many swords that cut off countless branches! – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.


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