late 1800s–early 1900s
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Overall: 194.4 x 61 cm (76 9/16 x 24 in.); Painting only: 106 x 42 cm (41 3/4 x 16 9/16 in.)
Kelvin Smith Fund 1991.77
Among the subjects of souvenir paintings made since the 1600s in Ōtsu, a travel hub near Kyoto in western Japan, was a demon in monk’s robes reciting the name of the Buddha Amida to the rhythm of his gong. Ōtsu paintings largely disappeared with the advent of rail travel in the late 1800s, as people no longer stopped in the area. In this work, Kyoto-based artist Suzuki Shōnen reimagined the demon for the modern era—the simple figure from the Ōtsu painting is transformed into a realistic one accompanied by a calligraphic meditation on its nature.
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