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Portrait of Ozora Buzaemon

Portrait of Ozora Buzaemon


Watanabe Kazan

(Japanese, 1793-1841)

Japan, Edo period


Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper

Image: 221.8 x 117.8 cm (87 5/16 x 46 3/8 in.); Overall: 256.8 x 131 cm (101 1/8 x 51 9/16 in.); with knobs: 256.8 x 140.5 cm (101 1/8 x 55 5/16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1980.177


Over seven feet tall, Ōzora Buzaemon became a tabloid sensation when he arrived in Edo (Tokyo) in 1827 . His handprints were cherished souvenirs, and his image was sold on woodblock prints. As inscriptions on the scroll detail, Watanabe Kazan met Buzaemon at the residence of a noted Confucian scholar. Using a camera obscura–type device—a tool that uses light to project an image onto a surface—he made this preliminary drawing for a painting. The portrayal depicts Buzaemon’s discomfort in being stared at.

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