The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of April 26, 2017

Portrait of Ozora Buzaemon, 1827

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 1/16 x 51 9/16 in); with knobs: 256.8 x 140.5 cm (101 1/16 x 55 5/16 in). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1980.177

At 7 feet tall, Ozora Buzaemon became a tabloid sensation when he arrived in Edo (Tokyo) in 1827. His handprints were cherished souvenirs, and his image was hawked in woodblock prints. He was treated essentially as a sideshow freak. As inscriptions on the scroll detail, the scholar-painter Kazan met Buzaemon at the residence of noted Confucian scholar Sato Issai. Using a camera obscura-type device, Kazan captured Buzaemon’s image on a quiltwork of paper patches, making a preliminary drawing that would later be turned into a finished painting. This sad portrayal depicts Buzaemon’s inherent discomfort in his imposed role as entertainer-unlike the bombastic caricatures found in the broadsheet prints that hyped his arrival in Edo.

Nara National Museum, Japan (2/21-3/29/98); Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo (4/28-6/21/98) "Highlights of Asian Painting from The Cleveland Museum of Art" p 139, cat. no. 92
Later Japanese Rotation (Gallery 113); March 18 - July 13, 2004.

The Cleveland Museum of Art (06/28/2009 - 08/30/2009); "Streams and Mountains Without End: Asian Art and the Legacy of Sherman E. Lee at the Cleveland Museum of Art"

Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer). Tokyo National Museum (1/15/2014 - 2/23/2014) and Kyushu National Museum (7/8/2014 - 8/31/2014): "Admired from Afar: Masterworks of Japanese Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art", cat. no. 22, p. 68-69.

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Library materials about Watanabe Kazan (31)

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