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Sixteen Arhats
Important Cultural Property
By Kin Taiju (Jin Dashou)
10 hanging scrolls
Color on silk
Southern Song period/12th century
Tokyo National Museum
Kin Daiju was a Buddhist painter representing Ningbo (Zhejiang Province) of the Southern Song period. According to the signature and seal (“大宋明州車橋西、金大受筆”) affixed to each painting, this set of paintings was drawn before 1195 when Ningbo was still called Minshu. They are known as relatively old paintings among existing Sekko Buddhist paintings. Kin Daiju depicts Rakan accurately with controlled brushwork and well-organized beautiful gradation of neutral colors. His natural representation makes these Rakan paintings most graceful among other Rakan paintings drawn in Ningbo. This set of paintings had been handed down for generations in Tadain Shrine in Sessyu as its treasure. It was previously owned by Kunizo Hara. Currently, ten of the 16 paintings are owned by the Tokyo National Museum and one by the Museum of Modern Art, Gunma. The remaining five paintings, however, seem to have been taken overseas and their whereabouts are unknown.