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Friday, June 4, 2004


Chugu-ji Temple screens on display

Two screen paintings to be installed this autumn in Nara's Chugu-ji Temple, one of seven built by Prince Shotoku, the "Prince of Sagely Virtue," are on display at Wako department store in Tokyo's Ginza.

The works, titled "Spring" and "Summer," were painted by Toshihiro Hamano, whose works already adorn the sliding doors and walls of the temple. The exhibition includes about 40 of Hamano's paintings.

Prince Shotoku (574-622) is perhaps one of Japan's most respected historical figures. He served as regent of the female Emperor Suiko (r. 593-628) and made many efforts to strengthen the authority of the Imperial Court, such as by introducing the Seventeen-Article Constitution. He also spread Buddhism in Japan through an Imperial edict promoting the religion, and supported the construction of such major temples as the Horyu-ji, Shitenno-ji and Asuka-dera.

Hamano, born in 1937, created "Spring" and "Summer" as part of a series of more than 70 works depicting Prince Shotoku's life. All were done in the style of yamato-e painting dating from the Kamakura Period (1192-1333).

True to original yamato-e style, Hamano's paintings capture birds and plants during the changing of the seasons.

"Toshihiro Hamano Exhibition -- Beauty of the Chugu-ji Temple": Till June 9, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (till 5 p.m. the last day), at Wako department store, 6F, Ginza 4-chome intersection. Closed June 6. Admission free.

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