An instant, inner glimpses of Kyoto

Dec 12, 2017 UPDATE

First episode / Bishamon Doumonzeki

Hidden in the mountain temple paintings in sliding doors represent Buddhist enlightenment, a beautiful hospitality gesture.
The Kanou school left to trap your imagination numerous trompe l’oeil pieces in sliding doors and ceilings.Monsekij Jiin will make you doubt your own eyes.

Anecdote of the "Twisting dragon" resting at the ceiling of Reiden

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One of the five Tendai Buddhist monuments.The inverse perspective method produced by the Kanou school remains in great numbers in the walls, 400 years after depicting the Muromachi Shogunate.First to greet you, by master painter Kanou Eishukumorinobu the ceiling dragon.Amazing how the face of the dragon will perfectly face you as you walk around the Reiden room.Also known as the "Twisting dragon", there is an anecdote master painter Kayama Matazou replicated it on the ceiling of Tenryu-ji.

Kano Masanobu's inverse perspective transcending technique!

Painting of Laozi sitting on a desk

Bestowed by emperor Go-sai at the former palace in Gosho, at the relocated Shinden you will find Master Kanou Masanobu’s “Kurounoma”, while walking along the sliding door and observing the picture, you will be amazed how the perspective of the desk changes at a certain point.This effect cannot be captured by a single lens camera, that painting was created to be seen and reflected by a person’s eyes and to show how perceptive they are.

The sign of the uninvited guest hidden in“Umenoma”

The bulbul ON bamboos and the warbler ON plums “Umenoma”

There is a reception room called "Egret space"又は”Shirasaginoma” separated by "Plum space"”Umenoma”.“Manekarezarunoma”by someone.The guests passing through this space are said are said to never head forward to the next.And the clue is cleverly hidden in the walls.If taking a good look at what it would be traditionally drawn inside the paintings the figure of "Warbler on Plums" and "Sparrow on Bamboos", instead you have mismatched birds at different places on purpose, causing “Pheasant on plums” and “Bulbul on bamboos”. This space creates a physical euphemism for the guest’s importance as the mismatching birds mirror undesired visitors.

Maruyama Okyo’s perfected realism in inverse perspective method.

Image specification Maruyama carp painting on wooden plate

In a wooden plate inside Kyushoin(旧書院) there’s a carp painting, as you observe it in different angles the direction the carp bounces will amazingly change as well.And about this carp, one will be again surprised on how realistically it is depicted.Maruyama Okyo’s visit to this temple did not end until he mastered the inverse perspective method, and this painting is the result.


18 Anshuinariyamacho, Yamashina Ward, Kyoto
20 minutes walk from JR Biwako Line, Yamashina Station
8:30~17:00(From December to February 16:30)
admission fee
Entrance: 500 yen

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