Sesson Shukei

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Sesson Shūkei (ca. 1492–1577) stands out as an anomaly in the history of Japanese art. Among the vast canon of Japanese ink painting, Sesson departed from convention. Inspired by the untamed landscape of the eastern regions of Japan, Sesson led a peripatetic existence caused by a lifetime of warfare and upheaval—yet he created some of the most visually striking images in the history of Japanese ink painting. Drawing on new art historical and sociological insights into Japan's 16th century, Sesson Shūkei: A Zen Monk-Painter in Medieval Japan explores new ways of understanding and interpreting one of Japan's greatest painters and the world that shaped him.

Museum Story

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art opened to the public in 1923, a gift to the nation from Charles Lang Freer. The museum contains an extensive collection of oriental art, prints, sculpture and silk panels, as well as a major group of 19th and 20th century American works.


  • Written by Frank Feltens, the Japan Foundation Assistant Curator of Japanese Art at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art
  • Hardcover
  • 319 pages
  • Approximately 125 color illustrations
  • 11" x 10"

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