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Ashikaga Yoshimitsu Admiring the Golden Pavilion (1879)

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About the Art

On the still waters of the pond, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu stands under a tree and marvels at the impressive temple structure. 

This print is from Yoshitoshi’s series “A Mirror of Famous Generals of Japan”, a collection of heroic figures from Japan’s past. 

The temple, ‘Kinkaku-ji’, translates to mean “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, which derives from the pure gold leaf it’s coated in. Originally the building was a villa owned by a powerful statesman, until it was purchased by Yoshimitsu, pictured here. Upon Yoshimitu’s death, his son transformed the building into a zen temple. In this scene, Yoshimitsu returns to admire the work completed by his son. 

Aside from being a beautiful addition, the gold leaf has symbolic meaning. It was intended to purify any pollution or negative thoughts or feelings towards death. When the sunlight hits the golden facade, it creates a wonderful reflection on the surface of the pond that surrounds it.

Yoshitoshi’s unique style was a feat of hard work and times of struggle. During his life, many of his works were unsuccessful, resulting in extreme poverty and poor health. This series was created at a time when he finally found success and recognition. 

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      • Fade resistant paper and canvas materials, with a matte finish for an authentic look

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