By Daniel Strawhun, A&E Editor

 

Pulling from a collection of over 2,600 pieces, the St. Lou­is Art Museum chose four works to display in the rotating exhibit “Japanese Painting and Calligraphy: Highlights from the Collection.” The pieces currently on display— three hanging scrolls and one large folding screen—will soon return to the climate-controlled storage whence they came. The exhibit is set to be rotated once again on Feb­ruary 12.

The focal point of the exhibit is a large folding screen from the six­teenth century by Kaiho Yosho. The screen, which stretches the length of the gallery and depicts a shore­line, is strikingly modern. The faint ink wash abstracts the landscape into a state of constant disappear­ance, and the few concrete objects that interrupt it bleed into Ror­schach-esque blots.

The oldest piece in the exhibit is a fourteenth-century hanging scroll titled “Poetry Contest between Po­ets of Different Eras.” The scroll de­picts an imaginary dialogue between Prince Motoyoshi of the Heian peri­od (794 to 1185) and the famous poet Fujiwara no Teika of the Kamakura period (1185 to 1333). The scroll is one of a series of 50 such scrolls that depict similar dialogues between Japanese luminaries.

Other pieces featured in the ex­hibit include “Death of Sakyamuni Buddha,” a painting of the Buddha entering the state of nirvana, and “Old Pine and Crested Mynas,” a playful nature scene. “Japanese Painting and Calligraphy: High­lights from the Collection” is free and can be viewed in gallery 232 of the St. Louis art museum until Feb­ruary 12.