Centennial Exhibition, Japanese page is here.
The Vision and Craft of Shinjo Ito



August 20-30, 2006

at Tokyo Bijutsu Club Toobi Art Forum



February 24 - March 10, 2006

at ATC museum



May 4 - May 10, 2007

at Design Hall / NADYA PARK



August 2 - August 11, 2007

at Elgara Hall



September 8 - September 17, 2007

at Sapporo Media Park SPICA



February - March, 2008

in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles



August - November, 2008

in Milan and Florence

Shinjo Ito (1906-1989) mastered Shingon Buddhism at the Daigoji monastery in Kyoto, the headquarters of Shingon's Daigo school. Shinjo then went on to branch off and found "Shinnyo-en," a distinct Buddhist order incorporating the Nirvana Sutra's teachings to form a new stream of Buddhism. Besides his religious activities, his philanthropic work also took him beyond Buddhist circles and the borders of Japan.

But there was another side to Shinjo Ito that should perhaps be included in any biography--an artistry that clearly made him an accomplished Buddhist sculptor of modern times. Unusual for present-day religious leaders, he took it upon himself to sculpt the "Nirvana Buddha," his interpretation of the central figure of the Nirvana Sutra.

His inherent gift for creating things bore fruit in the form of many other Buddhist figures, such as Shakyamuni, Amitabha, and Achalanatha.

Besides these images, he produced a great number of works outside of the religious sphere: busts of significant people in his life, other sculpture, engravings, calligraphy, and even photography. Indeed, they show us another form of the personal discipline he engaged in till the end of his life.

The exhibition contains 100 items representing his work. It takes a multi-dimensional approach by also recreating one of the art studios where he worked, as well as presenting archival photographs, audio-video materials, and his favorite tools, some of which he crafted himself.

This is the first time these works have been publicly exhibited. Were he alive today, he probably would be surprised to find himself the focus of such attention as he never described his work as art. However, it is of such high caliber that the organizers felt it was important to give the opportunity to more people to know this 20th century Buddhist master and how he expressed his genius in various forms.

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