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Moss Garden (at Kokedera)

Midday at the Beach
 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

苔寺新緑

Moss Garden (at Kokedera)

by Kitaoka Fumio, 1972

Ishizuchi Plateau


IHL Cat. #1604

About This Print


One of my favorite Kitaoka prints depicting the lower level gardens and Ogonchi Pond at Kokedera.

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera) 
Source: Kyoto City explanatory plaque at site.

Also known by its mountain-name of Koinzan, Saihoji Temple belongs to the Rinzai school of Japanese Buddhism.  In 1994 the site was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tradition holds that after being founded by the monk Gyoki in accordance with an edict from the emperor Shomu during the Nara Period [AD 710-794] and briefly occupied by Kobo Daishi during the Heian Period [1794-1185], Saihoji was revived during the Kamakura Period [1185-1333] by the priest Honen, who restored the temple and converted it into a training hall for Jodo Shinko (the Pure Land faith).  The facility was subsequently devastated by military conflict before being rebuilt in 1339 as a center of strict Zen ascetic training by the priest Muso Soseki with the staunch backing of the emperor Godaigo and the shogun Ashikaga Takauji.

The garden built by Muso Soseki (a nationally designated scenic and historic site) consists of an upper level of dry karesansui-style rock arrangements and a lower level built around Ogonchi Pond, which is shaped like the Chinese character meaning "heart."  Blanketed by more than 120 species of moss, the temple is popularly and affectionately known as Kokedera ("Moss Temple").

The Shonantei teahouse (an Important Cultural Asset) was built during the Momoyama Period [1573-1615] by Shoan, the second son of tea master Sen-no-Rikyu.  It is here that Iwakura Tomomi [Meiji government offical and statesman] sought temporary shelter during the Meiji Restoration.


Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1604
 Title Moss Garden 寺新緑 Koke-dera shinryoku
 Series n/a
 Artist 
 Kitaoka Fumio (1918-2007)
 Signature 
 Fumio Kitaoka - pencil signed by artist in English below the image
 Seal unsealed
 Publication Date 1972
 Edition 46/100
 Publisher self-published
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor handling creases in margin
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print)
 Miscellaneous
 Format 
 H x W Paper 18 3/4 x 24 7/8 in. (47.6 x 63.2 cm)
 H x W Image 15 5/8 x 21 1/2 in.  (39.7 x 54.6 cm) 
 Collections This Print Art Gallery of New South Wales 331.1995 (ed. 24 of 100)
 Reference Literature 
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