A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals is pleased to present a monumental and important collection of 100 Japanese scroll paintings of Five Hundred Lohans, copied by Morimoto Kōchō森本後凋  between 1887-1888 after 12th century Chinese Song dynasty originals. These paintings are careful and attractive copies of some of the greatest extant works of Chinese Lohan painting. They are of tremendous historic value. They document the piety of twelfth-century Chinese lay Buddhists and the wave of Chinese cultural influence that accompanied the transmission of Zen to Japan, and they played a role in the upheavals that shook the Japanese Buddhist establishment in the Meiji period. Though only about one century old, their story already spans China, Japan, the United States, and Canada.

 

Morimoto copy of the Song dynasty original scrolls
Song Dynasty Original Scroll Painting

The 100 paintings on silk are mounted as traditional hanging scrolls, and are contained in 20 Japanese wooden trays. Overall size of scroll with mounting: 160 x 62cm (63 x 24.5 in.) Overall size without mounting: 108 x 52cm (42.5 x 20.5 in.) All 100 scrolls will be offered as one lot in our upcoming June 2017 Asian Arts Auction, together with great examples of porcelain, bronze, jade, rubbings, and other fine and decorative items.

 

Appraisals & Documents

  • Copies of 6 letters in Japanese by Morimoto and contemporaries about these works
  • Appraised by Edwin Hardy, Oriental and European Antiques, San Francisco – June 3, 1982
  • Re-appraised by Edwin Hardy, Oriental and European Antiques, San Francisco – September 28, 1983
  • Summary of condition by Ann Shaftel, Fine Arts Conservation, Chicago – April 6, 1984
  • Appraisal by Fuji Murakami, Oriental Art Appraisers, Denver, Colorado – May 5, 1985
  • Donation letter from Lyle M. Weinstein, General Partner, GES 500, Ltd.  to Vajracarya, the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche – June 8, 1985

 

 

Bibliography

  • Album of Five Hundred Lohans, Go-hyaku-rakan-chō 五百羅漢貼, by Morimoto Kōchō 森本後凋 Commemorative album published by the artist’s son Morimoto Tōkaku 森本東閣. Kyōto. 1921.5
  • Fong, Wen. Five Hundred Lohans at the Daitokuji. PhD. diss., Princeton University, 1956.
  • Fong, Wen. The Lohans and a Bridge to Heaven. Freer Gallery of Art Occasional Papers. vol. 3, no. 1. Washington, D.C.: Lord Baltimore Press, 1958. 3, 10-13.
  • Levine, Gregory P.A. Daitokuji: The Visual Cultures of a Zen Monastery. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2005. Pp. 287-313, esp. 190

Timeline

Date Event
1178-1188 Song original painted by Zhou Jichang周季常 and Lin Tinggui林庭珪
Mid 13th C. – Early 14th C. Original set transported to Japan, residing first at the Zen temple Jufukuji in Kamakura and later to the Zen temple Daitoku-ji in Kyōto, Japan
Muromachi period

(1336-1573)

2 works from the original set were replaced due to loss or damage following the arrival
1638 6 from the original set were replaced by Kimura Tokuō木村德應’s copy
19th C. The paintings were believed to be works of Guan Xiu贯休 and Li Longmian李龍眠. Later, the gold inscriptions with painters’ names were found visible in ultraviolet light
1887/1/3-1888/9/4 Morimoto Kōchō森本後凋(兼任京都與奈良帝宮博物館館長), who served the Meiji government in various capacities, including as director of the Imperial Museums in Nara and Kyoto, executed a complete set of copies of Daitoku-ji’s paintings
1894 44 from original set were exhibited in Boston to raise funds for the repair of the Daitoku-ji temple

–     10 were sold to BMFA

–     2 were given to the American organizer as a gift, and then were sold to Freer (1902.224 & 1907.139)

1897 The 12 scrolls remained in the US were replaced by Morimoto’s second copy(of his earlier copy), and later joined the Song original and earlier replaced ones as a complete set
1921 Morimoto Tōkaku published the Morimoto set in a book, Go-hyaku Rakan Chō (Scrolls of Five Hundred Lohan)
1984/11/30-1985/1/16 Entire collection exhibited at the Boulder Centre for the Visual Arts, titled “The Five Hundred Lohan: Lyrical Imagery / Sacred Meaning”
1985 Gifted to Shambhala (then known as “Vajradhatu”) by GES 500 Ltd.

 

 

For more information about the present collection and our auction, please contact Shi Qiu at asianart@ahwilkens.com