Status of Original Painting – For Sale
All prices are in Canadian dollars
Size: 15 x 20 inches
Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb Arches
My current theme of international scenes brings us to Japan. The viewpoint is from the Itsukushima Shrine on the island of Itsukushima, looking across ocean waters to the city of Hatsukaichi and several peaks of the Chūgoku Mountains in the distance. The much larger city of Hiroshima is off to the far right, out of view.
Itsukushima Shrine is devoted to Shinto, which is considered Japan’s indigenous religion or spirituality, one in which nature is a sacred manifestation of divinity and its power. Shinto is polytheistic and involves the worship of kami, the gods or supernatural entities believed to inhabit all things.
Part of one wing of the Shrine is visible on the left, while a brass lantern is shown on the right. The striking reddish-orange structure in the middle is a torii, a gate marking the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine. Symbolically torii mark the transition from the mundane to the sacred as you approach a shrine. This one is famously called the floating torii because of how it appears at high tide. The shrine itself also appears to float because it is built upon pillars, as you can see on the left. At low tide it is possible to walk from the shrine to the torii.
Itsukushima Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a very popular tourist destination. Two weddings took place while I visited there in 2013. I show some photos below of the torii, the shrine, and the weddings.
In 2013 my main destination was Kobe (famous for its beef), but I took a trip to Hiroshima, which included Hatsukaichi and this shrine. The tour guide was the daughter of a first responder after the nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She told us harrowing and sad stories of what it was like for those who suffered and died from the immediate effects of radiation poisoning or slower effects of radiation-induced malignancies, such as leukemia. The skeletal remnants of one building stand intact at ground zero as a silent monument of the nuclear holocaust. It is referred to as the “A-Bomb Dome,” and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’d thought of painting that building, contrasted against the green of nature and the Memorial Park that it overlooks, but it seemed too sombre a subject. I’ve added two photos of the A-Bomb Dome below.
I’ve been to Japan several times and have visited Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hatsukaichi, and Hiroshima.
Another connection that I have with Japan is that in 2008, my painting “Green Gables House” became millions of stamps in an historic joint first issue by Canada Post and Japan Post, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the book Anne of Green Gables, by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery.