Kinkakuji-Temple on Fire, by Kawabata Ryūshi

Kinkakuji-Temple on Fire, by Kawabata Ryūshi

On July 2, 1950, the three-storied square-shaped Golden Pavilion, a national treasure at Kinkakuji Temple (Rokuonji Temple) in Kyoto, was burned down by arson committed by a disciple of the temple. The incident, which shocked the public, was the subject of a novel by Mishima Yukio. Kawabata Ryūshi also learned of the disappearance of the notable cultural asset in a newspaper and painted it, intuiting that it would make a good subject for a painting.

Only two months after the incident, he exhibited “Kinkakuji-Temple on Fire” at the 22nd Seiryusha Exhibition. In response to its too-early creation, some people regarded it as a work of journalism rather than art. Ryūshi, however, did not actually see the burning golden temple and paint it; he painted the representation that emerged in his mind. He completed this work using only ink, vermillion, and gold, so to speak, the traditional materials of Japanese painting.

Title: Kinkakuji-Temple on Fire

Author: Kawabata Ryūshi

Year: 1950

Size: 142.0 × 239.0 cm

Own: The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Related artworks

If you want to enjoy Japanese artworks of painting, print, and craft everyday, check the Twitter account of Masterpiece of Japan!

You can also see the tweets on the sidebar!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.