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Fragments of Buddhist Sculpture at Usuki

A work made of woodblock print.

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  • A work made of woodblock print.




Hiratsuka Un’ichi
Japanese, 1895-1997

About this artwork

Hiratsuka Un’ichi was one of the major figures to emerge from the sosaku hanga (creative print) movement in Japan. He taught printmaking at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts from the inception of its Department of Printmaking in 1935. His mature period is characterized by prints done in black ink only, a style that sprang from his appreciation for the Japanese traditions of ink painting and line drawing.

This work depicts sculptural fragments from the 12th to 14th centuries in Oita prefecture, Kyushu, at the famous Usuki archaeological site. Many of the stone sculpture groups have been designated as national treasures.

During World War II, Hiratsuka Un’ichi traveled both domestically and abroad on assignment from the imperial army to record sacred sites. He had a deep belief in Buddhism and collected Buddhist prints and temple roof tiles. This work from 1941 represents the Usuki Stone Buddhas, sculptural fragments from the 12th through 14th centuries on the island of Kyushu. Japan has designated many of the stone sculpture groups as National Treasures. The artist wrote about this print, “History tells us that these statues were brought [to Japan] from China by a Buddhist monk in the sixth century. The colors have faded almost completely. But I still see slight coloring on the lips of the large statue.”


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Arts of Asia


Hiratsuka Un'ichi


Fragments of Buddhist Sculpture at Usuki


Japan (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Woodblock print


43.6 × 51.7 cm (17 3/16 × 20 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Hiratsuka Un'ichi-Van Zelst Family Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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