Utagawa Kunimasa V – 五代目歌川国政 – (also Baidō Kokunimasa – 梅堂 小国政, c. 1874-1944) – Bodhidharma – 菩提達磨

$20,000.00 CAD

This is a rare original by a master of the Utagawa School, who was usually busy with Ukiyo-e. Kokunimasa had to spend a lot of time at the Kabuki Theatre, backstage, sketching actors and preparing what would have to quickly become available for sale to the theatre-going public. He also spent considerable time observing war manoevers for his military works. A painting like this one would have been a fine opportunity for him to show his incredible talent with a brush. The hirsute Bodhidharma is rendered as such that it shows his style more clearly than many of the woodblock prints could -especially where the painting of hair is concerned. The composition is also highly original and it is probable that because he was aware that his aritistic contributions to Buddhism were limited, he was out to do his very best with this piece.

Here, the never-sleeping Bodhidharma seems to be looking forward towards the future of Japanese aesthetics as brought to a pinnacle by Matsuo Bashō, who named himself after the bashō (banana tree) like the one that Bodhidharma is staring at. The ancient symbolism of the tree is also fitting. It is a zen reminder of the transient nature of life because the leaves eventually turn black and fall to the ground. -And so all things must pass. The inscription actually states that it was painted in summer, -and it must have been a hot and dry one. The honshi (main painted area) is in very good condition with some normal ageing and toning. There is stain and general age and wear to the mounting, however the blend of silk and cotton is so organic and lovely that one would be tempted to leave it as is. Signed “Baidō”. Kokunimasa had a few “Go” (painter names) throughout his life, including Takeuchi Ryuua. “Baidō” was used extensively and he spelled it two different ways, –as documented here on the official government  “Culture Digital Library” website. The second-last image is his name signed on a woodblock print in a private collection.

This painting is in storage, but with 48 hours notice we will arrange a private viewing for serious inquiries. 

50″ x 28″ – $20,000 – Comes with a signed and sealed document of authenticity. Shipped in an industrial strength tube. Price includes shipping worldwide! All prices in Canadian dollars. $1000 discount for in-store purchase!

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