The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 25, 2016

Portrait of Ozora Buzaemon, 1827

hanging scroll, ink and color on paper, Image: 221.80 x 117.80 cm (87 5/16 x 46 3/8 inches); Overall: 256.80 x 131.00 cm (101 1/16 x 51 9/16 inches); with knobs: 256.80 x 140.50 cm (101 1/16 x 55 5/16 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1980.177

At 7 feet tall, Ozora Buzaemon became a tabloid sensation when he arrived in Edo (Tokyo) in mid1827. 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 scholarpainter
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 roleas entertainer-unlike the bombastic, hyperimagined
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.

Library materials about Watanabe Kazan (31)

Detail Views