The Yomiuri ShimbunFusuma sliding doors featuring a painting of a cherry blossom tree by a Tokyo artist is on displayed at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto.
The work by Japanese-style painter Senrin Yamagishi spreads across four doors each measuring 1.8 meters high by 1.4 meters wide. It is on public view only during springtime.
“Paintings are completed only when people see them,” said Yamagishi, who works in Komae, Tokyo. “I hope many people will come to look at my work this year, too.”
The fusuma painting is titled “Shunkei: Shidarezakura” (Spring view: Weeping cherry tree) and represents a tree that stood in the temple’s grounds. Kodaiji was established by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s wife, Nene, in honor of her husband after he died in 1598.
In 1997, Yamagishi held an event at the temple in which she created a large blossom-themed artwork that was spread out on the ground and illuminated at night. Prompted by the rave reviews for Yamagishi’s painting, the temple asked her to create a sliding door painting to preserve the memories of the weeping cherry tree that was nearing the end of its life.
At the time, Yamagishi also had to look after her mother. Driven by her desire to show her mother “my best painting of a cherry tree,” Yamagishi completed the major work in just 2½ months, even though it normally would have taken six months to a year.
The painting was finished in 1998. “The painting of the cherry tree entirely covers the sliding doors, and it has a gentle ambience,” said Join Teramae, the temple’s priest. He added the work pleases visitors when it is shown, saying they are impressed by its impact.