Itō JAKUCHŪ
Five hundred arhats 1789

Itō Jakuchū’s paintings give us a feeling of journeying through an idealistic and dreamlike setting which stems from his Buddhist ideals. In this rare imagined vision of his large sculptural garden project at Sekihō-ji temple in Kyoto, we see a gate inscribed with the character yūge (playful spirit of the Buddha), representing an entrance to enlightenment. Once entering the garden we journey across bridges and along causeways, encountering the enlightened Buddha Śākyamuni conducting a sermon, arhats (enlightened beings) meditating in a cave and hundreds of stylised figures wandering about, floating on leaves, riding turtles or simply resting and drinking tea among the hills.