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New Beginnings: Japanese Prints of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s

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Ryoan-Ji, Kyoto (A)

1960
17 15/16 x 23 3/4 in. (45.6 x 60.3 cm)

Saito Kiyoshi
Japanese (1907 - 1992)

Object Type: Print
Medium and Support: Color woodcut
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur L. Stern
Accession Number: 1961.17
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Location: Not currently on view

Like most of his contemporaries, Saito Kiyoshi worked in series, exploring varied aspects of a given theme through medium and composition. This print is part of a series of Ryoan-Ji, a Zen temple built in Kyoto in 1473, which was famous for its dry garden consisting of 15 rocks arranged on a bed of raked, white gravel. Here, Saito has broken the composition into a series of horizontal bands and circles that, without the title and context, seem abstract.

Of particular beauty is his use of the grain of the woodblock to create a variety of textures, all of which visually refer to the materials they represent. The vertical band at the left of the print is surely part of the temple’s wooden building, while the white horizontal band at center depicts the gravel bed on which the rocks are presented.

[Label text, 2014]

Bibliography
See general reference in "Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century," Pittsburgh, Pa. : Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009: p. 150.

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