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Saint Nichiren

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

Although he always began his print projects by producing a drawing of his design, Hiratsuka Un’ichi also changed his designs while he was carving, as if drawing with the knife. He is regarded as the best-trained block carver in the creative print movement and was the first printmaker to receive the Order of Cultural Merit from the Japanese government in 1970.

The subject of this print is Saint Nichiren (1222–1282), the founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism in Japan, which takes the Lotus Sutra as the core of its teachings and promotes the belief that all humans can achieve enlightenment in their lifetimes. Hiratsuka studied the teachings of Nichiren when he was young and intended to make 10,000 impressions of this image. “If I cannot finish while I am alive,” he once said, “I will finish in heaven.”


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Hiratsuka Un'ichi


Saint Nichiren


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.

Made 1937


Woodblock print


87.7 × 57.5 cm (34 9/16 × 22 11/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore and Louann Van Zelst, Hiratsuka Un'ichi - Van Zelst Family Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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