Exhibitions>Shikō Munakata: A Way of Seeing

Sacred Screens and Scrolls: Decoding Buddhist Symbols in Shikō Munakata’s PrintsOnline

March 8, 2022 6:00 pm
YouTube Premiere

Tuesday, March 8 at 6 pm EST | Calculate your local time

“How does the artist breathe life into his work? By summoning the spirit of the art that lives inside him… Power comes from the artist’s spirit, warmth from his tenderness, and serenity from his prayers.” —Shikō Munakata, Hanga no Hanashi (1954)

In this virtual walkthrough of Shikō Munakata: A Way of Seeing, D. Max Moerman, professor and chair of Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College, delves into the artist’s rich Buddhist roots, unveiling key philosophies, motifs and figures at the heart of Munakata’s oeuvre. In conversation with Japan Society’s Chief Program Officer Ramona Handel-Bajema, Ph.D., Moerman discusses the religious significance of works such as Eulogy to Shōkei (1945), a six-panel screen containing 24 individual prints, and The Ten Great Disciples of Buddha (1939/1948), a set of 12 expressive, black-and-white hanging scrolls, as well as several calligraphic works.

This free program will premiere on YouTube on Tuesday, March 8 at 6 pm EST. Register in advance to receive a reminder email and viewing link the day before the event.


D. Max Moerman is Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College. He is Co-Chair of the Columbia University Seminar in Buddhist Studies and an Associate Director of the Columbia Center for Buddhism and Asian Religions. He holds an A.B. from Columbia College and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. His research interests are in the visual and material culture of Japanese religions.

Shikō Munakata: A Way of Seeing is supported, in part, by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation, Shigesuke and Noriko Kashiwagi, and The American Chai Trust. Special thanks to Sondra Castile, and the Family of Beate Sirota Gordon.

Exhibitions and Arts & Culture Lecture Programs at Japan Society are made possible, in part, by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund; the Mary Griggs Burke Endowment Fund established by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation; The Masako Mera and Koichi Mera, PhD Fund for Education and the Arts; Masako H. Shinn; Peggy and Dick Danziger; Raphael and Jane Bernstein; Friends of the Gallery; and an anonymous donor. Support for Arts & Culture Lecture Programs is provided, in part, by the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor for Japan Society gallery exhibitions.