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TOSHI YOSHIDA Japanese Woodblock Print SHWEDAGON PAGODA RANGOON BURMA 1984

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TOSHI YOSHIDA Japanese Woodblock Print SHWEDAGON PAGODA RANGOON BURMA 1984

TOSHI YOSHIDA

Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, Burma


Date: originally designed in 1984, this is a later embossed signature edition from Yoshida Studio
Size: koban, approx. 7.25 x 10.6"
Condition:
Fine, no flaws, uncirculated print, never framed
Impression:
Fine, solid keylines, nice surface texture, tight registration
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso


ABOUT SHWEDAGON PAGODA
The origins of Shwedagon are lost in antiquity, its age unknown. Long before the pagoda was built, its location on Singuttara hill in what is now Rangoon, was already an ancient sacred site because of the buried relics of the three previous Buddhas. According to one legend, nearly 5000 years had passed since the last Buddha walked the Earth, and Singuttara hill would soon lose its blessedness unless it was reconsecrated with relics of a new Buddha. In order that such new relics might be obtained, King Okkalapa of Suvannabhumi spent much time atop the hill, meditating and praying. Through a series of miracles eight hairs of the historical Buddha appeared. To enshrine the relics, multiple pagodas of silver, tin, copper, lead, marble, iron and gold were built one on top of the other to a height of 65 feet. During the following centuries, passing from myth to historical fact, the pagoda grew to its present height of 322 feet. Much of the continued construction of Shwedagon was actually reconstruction following disastrous earthquakes. During the 17th century the pagoda suffered earthquake damage on at least eight occasions. A particularly bad quake in 1786 brought the entire top half of the pagoda to the ground and its current shape and height date from the reconstruction of that time.

While much of the pagoda's beauty derives from the complex geometry of its shape and surrounding structures, equally mesmerizing is its golden glow. The lower stupa is plated with 8,688 solid gold bars, the upper part with another 13,153. The tip of the stupa is set with 5448 diamonds, 2317 rubies, sapphires, and other gems, 1065 golden bells and, at the very top, a single 76-carat diamond. Surrounding the pagoda are many smaller shrines housing pre-Buddhist spirits called nats, miracle working images, and a wish granting stone. The entire temple complex radiates a palpable sense of beauty and serenity.


ABOUT TOSHI YOSHIDA
Born in Tokyo, Toshi Yoshida was the eldest son of Hiroshi Yoshida the renowned shin hanga master. Under his father's influence, Toshi began to learn painting at age 3 and woodblock printing at age 13. In 1925-29 he studied oil painting at Taiheiyo Art School and in 1929 traveled with his father to India and Southeast Asia making sketches for future prints.

In 1936 Toshi journeyed to China and Korea, and in 1952-53 he visited the US and Europe where he exhibited works and lectured about woodblock prints. From the early fifties forward Toshi often traveled to the US, Canada, Mexico, Africa, Australia and Antarctica for sketching, exhibitions and lectures. For a few years after the war, he made prints of abstract subjects, but then reverted to prints of scenery and animals. In 1980, Toshi opened the Miasa Cultural Center in Nagano Prefecture where he taught students from many countries, including Carol Jessen, Karyn Young and Ryusei Okamoto.


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